The mayor of New York recently lifted a ban on mobile phones on school premises. New research from the London School of Economics indicates that’s probably a mistake.
Researchers Richard Murphy and Louis-Phillppe Beland studied how phone policies at 91 schools in England have changed since 2001. Comparing the data against results from national exams taken by 130,000 students showed that test scores improved by 6.4% after schools banned phone use. Average test scores for underachieving students rose by 14%.
The researchers said that banning phones in schools was equivalent to adding one hour of instruction each week. They also found that banning mobile phones had no effect on high achievers and 14-year-olds were not affected in either direction.
“These findings do not discount the possibility that mobile phones and other forms of technology could be useful in schools if their use is properly structured,” the researchers wrote. “However, our findings do suggest that the presence of mobile phones in schools should not be ignored.”