Skip Navigation
small NCES header image

Education in States and Nations: 1991

(ESN) Indicator 17: Student use of technology

The forms of technology utilized in schools can affect both the types of skills taught in the classroom and the potential for academically sophisticated assignments and exercises. For example, in math courses in which calculators are used, students can spend more time solving complex and challenging problems and less on doing routine computations by hand. Likewise, students with access to computers can generate and edit work more efficiently and, thus, potentially free time to master higher levels of writing skill. Needless to say, student use of technology is affected by its availability. Therefore, varying levels of resources among countries and nations factor significantly into this measure.

  • n 1991, 54 percent of students in the United States reported using calculators in school, a proportion that fell mid-range among all the countries included here. Ninety percentage points separated the country with the highest rate of calculator usage (France) and the countries with the lowest rate (Korea and Brazil). Half of all the nations providing data reported percentages of less than 50 percent.

  • When students in the U.S. states were asked about calculator use, they also reported considerable variation. The range extended from 47 percent in Mississippi, the state with the lowest use of calculators in school, to 88 percent in Maine, the state with the highest use.

  • The United States was also in the middle of the range of countries in the proportion of students using computers for school work or homework (37 percent). Slovenia and France had the highest percentages, 61 and 57 percent, while several countries had about 5 percent. Slovenia's rate was 24 percentage points higher than that of the United States. The difference between Slovenia's rate and that of S o Paulo and Fortaleza, Brazil, with the lowest percentage, was 57 percentage points.

  • Even the U.S. state with the lowest rate had a higher percentage of students using computers for school work or homework than did half of the countries included here. No state had a rate of less than 25 percent, whereas nine nations did. Students in Maine matched those of Slovenia in the highest rate of computer usage among all the nations and states (61 percent).

Table 16b Processes and Institutions Indicators Figure 17
Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey


No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.