Media multitasking in the classroom and student achievement: a correlational study
The present study is a quantitative correlational examination of a hypothesized relationship between student multitasking with electronic devices in a classroom setting and levels of student achievement. The purpose of the study was to determine whether a relationship existed between the incidence of students’ use of cell phones and MP3 players in the classroom setting under various circumstances, and the students’ self-reported grade achievement on a recent formal school report. The directionality of the results indicated that use of electronic devices in the classroom was negatively correlated to student achievement. As student use of electronic devices increased, a corresponding decrease in grade achievement resulted. Some weakness in the study emerged as it unfolded but these weaknesses were dealt with through a thorough examination of the data from differing perspectives. The study is grounded in the foundational psychological research in divided attention and cognitive load theory which indicated that multitasking does in fact diminish one’s ability to perform intellectual tasks effectively. The results of the present study supported these findings.