Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smidchens

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Barring

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield


The purpose of this research was to determine the effects of computer assisted instruction (CAI) in basic skills English and mathematics courses on high-risk ninth grade students. Utilizing an ex post facto design, the study was undertaken to determine if CAI courses make any measurable difference in students' academic achievement. The study also examines three nonacademic concerns relating to the school-imposed, high-risk, label carried by these students: attendance, student behavior, and dropouts.

Data were collected from school personnel offices on 384 ninth grade students enrolled in four high schools of two urban school districts. Because of student drops from school, moves, and absenteeism during testing, 182 students were eliminated, leaving 202 as final subjects in the study. The instruments utilized in this study included the Metropolitan Achievement Test, the Nelson Reading Test, the Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test, and the California Achievement Test.

The five components of (a) reading achievement, (b) mathematics achievement, (c) attendance, (d) student behavior, and (e) student dropout all contributed in ascertaining if a difference existed between students enrolled in computer assisted instruction courses and students enrolled in traditional courses. Differences were found favoring the treatment group in three of the five components: reading achievement, mathematics achievement, and attendance. The fourth component, student behavior, and the fifth component, student dropout, were the two areas where difference between the groups was not found.

As computer assisted instruction is fast becoming an acceptable method of delivering subject matter content, especially to remedial students, and as so many students are still lacking the basic skills upon entry into high schools, the positive results of this study contain important information for educational planners and future researchers. By knowing some academic areas are meeting with success and some nonacademic areas are also positively influenced, better determinations can be made about future uses of computer assisted instruction in academic environments.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access