School & District Management What the Research Says

Lack of Internet Access Hamstrings Homework Efforts

By Alyson Klein — September 24, 2019 1 min read

One in 5 urban teachers say most of their students don’t have the home access to the internet necessary to do assignments outside of class, finds a new teacher survey by the nonprofit Common Sense Media.

The survey found 12 percent of all teachers reported the same digital divide for their students, but the problem was much more prevalent in high-poverty and high-minority schools. Teachers in high-poverty schools were more likely to avoid assigning homework that requires digital access outside of school. Forty-two percent of teachers at high-poverty schools say they steer clear of giving students work that they’ll need an internet connection to complete, compared with 31 percent of teachers at schools that don’t receive federal Title I money for children in poverty.

What’s more, the problem is likely exacerbated as students’ educational careers advance. Only 20 percent of teachers in grades K-2 assign children homework that requires access to a digital device or broadband connection outside of school. But 41 percent of high school teachers do.

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A version of this article appeared in the September 25, 2019 edition of Education Week as Lack of Internet Access Hamstrings Homework Efforts

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