ENHANCING SUPPORTING BEHAVIOUR THROUGH ICT: EVIDENCE FOR SPAIN
At present, the use of ICT (Information Communication Technology) is integrated in everyday teaching. Apart from developing new knowledge, and given that the letter “C” stands for Communication, it is convenient to test if computer enhances communication and solidarity among students. The implementation of the Program School 2.0 in Spain in conjunction with PISA survey for 2012 provides a unique opportunity for analyzing this issue. The Program School 2.0 proposed the transformation of all 5th and 6th Primary Education and all 1st and 2nd Compulsory Secondary Education classrooms into digital classrooms at public schools, the provision of computers for personal use and the development of digital contents that could be used by teachers. However, given that the Autonomous Communities' participation in this program was not homogeneous, it is possible to distinguish between participant Communities (PC) and non-participant Communities (NPC).
On the other hand, PISA (2012) includes a variable indicating if the student helps other classmates with Mathematics (using a categorical variable: always or almost always, often, sometimes, never or rarely). Our final sample contains 6,855 observations for PC and 7,572 for NPC.
We propose to estimate and ordered probit model with endogenous variable. The dependent variable is the frequency of support provided to other students, where the explanatory variables included are gender, nationality, speaking other language at home, Mathematics performance, grade repetition, class size and size of municipality. We posit the potential endogeneity of the variable Mathematics performance given that support received from others could have a significant effect over the resulting Mathematics achievement. For this purpose, in the Mathematics equation we introduce as identification restrictions parents’ level of education, parents’ relation with economic activity and number of books at home.
Once that we have estimated the model we compute the predicted probabilities of providing support to other classmates. Additionally and for easier interpretation, we use the classification of Mathematics’ performance established by the OECD:
(1) “lowest performers”: less than 357.7 points,
(2) “low performers”: between 357.5 and 420.1 points,
(3) “low moderate performers”: between 420.1 and 482.4 points,
(4) “high moderate performers”: between 482.4 and 544.7 points,
(5) “strong performers” between 544.7 and 607 points and
(6) “top performers”: over 607 points.
We highlight three main results. First, the probability of helping other classmates with Mathematics increases notoriously in PC for “strong performers” and “top performers” (+8.26% with respect to students with similar performance in NPC), and for “high” and “low moderate performers” (+25.27%). Second, for immigrant students, the probability of helping other classmates increases significantly in PC with respect to NPC for all Mathematics performance levels (between 45.42% for “low performers” to 16.42% for “strong performers”). Third, the probability of providing support always, almost always or often increases by 8.62% in PC for the case of students who have repeated one academic year. Our interpretation of these results is that ICT provide an incentive for exchanging mathematical problems and discussing different solutions. And what is even more valuable, in an unintended manner, ICT may foster togetherness and ease the integration of different profiles of students.