Overcoming Michigan’s Homework Gap: The Role of Broadband Internet Connectivity for Student Success and Career Outlooks
43 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2020
Date Written: October 19, 2020
Differences in home Internet access have direct and indirect effects on K-12 student educational achievements. Much of the attention during the past years has been on the homework gap, disadvantages to students of lacking or poor Internet connectivity at home for the completion of homework assignments. Our research, based on a detailed survey of 3,258 students in grades 8-11 in small town and rural Michigan school districts, shows that the homework gap is real even after controlling for socioeconomic and other factors. It also shows that disparities in home Internet connectivity are associated, directly and indirectly, with much broader student performance gaps. They are associated with the development of digital skills, grades, standardized test scores, career orientation, and interest in pursuing post-secondary education. These challenges require a portfolio of responses, including coordinated efforts by local, state and federal policymakers to mitigate broadband infrastructure access and affordability gaps. They also require measures to make appropriate access devices available and the facilitation of skills and practices to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitally supported teaching and learning.
Keywords: Homework gap, digital inequality, broadband policy
JEL Classification: L86, L96, H54, I28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation