Overcoming Michigan’s Homework Gap: The Role of Broadband Internet Connectivity for Student Success and Career Outlooks

43 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2020

See all articles by Johannes M. Bauer

Johannes M. Bauer

Michigan State University-Department of Media and Information

Keith N. Hampton

Michigan State University

Laleah Fernandez

Michigan State University - Quello Center

Craig Robertson

Michigan State University - College of Communication Arts and Sciences

Date Written: October 19, 2020

Abstract

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

Bauer, Johannes M. and Hampton, Keith N. and Fernandez, Laleah and Robertson, Craig, Overcoming Michigan’s Homework Gap: The Role of Broadband Internet Connectivity for Student Success and Career Outlooks (October 19, 2020). Quello Center Working Paper No. 06-20, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3714752 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3714752

Johannes M. Bauer (Contact Author)

Michigan State University-Department of Media and Information ( email )

409 Communication Arts Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1212
United States
517-355-8372 (Phone)
517-355-1292 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.msu.edu/~bauerj

Keith N. Hampton

Michigan State University ( email )

Agriculture Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1122
United States

Laleah Fernandez

Michigan State University - Quello Center ( email )

406 Communication Arts Building
404 Wilson Road
East Lansing, MI 48824-1212
United States

Craig Robertson

Michigan State University - College of Communication Arts and Sciences ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

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