A Fordham University study has found that New York City’s elementary, middle and high school students enrolled in a technology support program excel in attendance, academics and leadership.
The three-year study, conducted within the Graduate School of Education (GSE), interviewed students who participate in the MOUSE Squad, a non-profit program that trains underserved students to function as a technical support team for their schools. MOUSE Squad students are trained to assist teachers and students who have computer questions, to fix broken computers, to update system software and to help design efficient use of technology within their own school.
The acronym stands for Making Opportunities for Upgrading Schools and Education.
The study, which interviewed public school faculty and students in all areas of the city, registered a 99 percent positive response for improving problem-solving skills and 91 percent for creating future job opportunities for students.
Further highlights of the study show that 87 percent of students felt that being on a MOUSE Squad improved their academic skills, while 92 percent felt it increased their desire to stay in school.
“We undertook the study because we were interested in seeing what effect participating in MOUSE had on students’ academic and cognitive growth,” said Akane Zusho, Ph.D., assistant professor of educational psychology and director of GSE’s Center for Technology in Education. “We were pleased to find that students active in MOUSE were more likely to believe that school was important, and to adopt academic goals.”
The MOUSE Squad trains students in 138 of the city’s schools to provide technical support to their school community, creating a cost-effective solution to the lack of on-site technology support. Its parent agency, MOUSE, partnered with Fordham in 2005 on the three-year study, “MOUSE Squad Program: Implementation and Outcomes,” to measure the program’s success.
MOUSE was founded in 1997, and the MOUSE Squad program was launched in 2000. Results of the study drew the attention of City Council President Christine Quinn, who announced them publicly last May.
“The study confirms the impact of MOUSE programs on the most significant issues facing public schools today,” said Carole Wacey, executive director of MOUSE. “Improved attendance, academic scores and 21st century skills.”
The Fordham study also reported that 72 percent of faculty advisers in schools felt MOUSE Squad student workers were capable of handling the most significant technical problems. A separate financial assessment study showed that MOUSE Squads saved a school about $19,000 annually in technology support costs.
In addition to the MOUSE Squad, the MOUSE program sponsors more advanced technology training, job shadow opportunities, and college-bound workshops for high school students.