Home web-access linked to better GCSE results

A report from the Office for National Statistics has revealed a clear link between education and online households

Having web access at home can make the difference between a pupil getting grade A at GCSE and grade D.

The latest UK internet access report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed a clear link between education and online households.

According to the ONS statistics, degree-level educated adults are most likely to have internet access at home, while individuals without any formal qualifications are least likely to be online.

Home web access also appears to support higher grade GCSEs. Eighty-two percent of individuals with GCE/GCSE A to C grade have the web at home, while just 74 percent of those with grades D to G live in a wired household. Those with no formal qualifications are least likely to have access to the web (56 percent).

Becta, the organisation that advises the government on educational IT, says six years of its research have established a strong link between educational attainment and access to technology — especially when it comes to broadband.

Schools that make 'good use' of broadband connectivity show statistically significant improvements in the percentage of pupils gaining more than five A*- to C-grade GCSEs in the year after broadband is installed.

Becta also claims schools that 'embrace technology' in general see a significant improvement in GCSE results, compared with those that do not.

Educational use of ICT at home by young people also has a positive impact on national tests for maths and English GCSEs results, according to Becta.

For GCSE science, Becta said the average gain from ICT use is 0.56 of a grade. Meanwhile, schools where technology is integrated across the curriculum and wider school life are statistically linked to higher points and percentage A* to C grades at GCSE and also schools have lower absence rates.

It's not just broadband and PCs that can have a positive impact on children's education. The research also shows the humble interactive whiteboard can help improve pupils' performances in national tests in English, maths and science.

Stephen Crowne, chief executive of Becta, said in a statement: "The evidence is clear; when schools use technology effectively, it can have a direct impact on pupil attainment and results."

Crowne claimed only a fifth of schools are currently "using technology effectively right across the curriculum", adding that there is therefore scope to improve more pupils' grades.

He added: "Schools should make the most of the internet, mobile phones, interactive whiteboards, school radio stations, blogs, podcasts and videoconferencing, helping to create a stimulating and engaging environment for their students."


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