March 13, 2021

Study: Increased internet access improves achievement, district finances

A new study from the University of Notre Dame finds a correlation between increased internet access spending in school districts and improvements in academic performance — as well as potential disciplinary consequences.

In their examination of data from more than 9,000 public schools, the study’s coauthors found a $600,000 increase in annual internet access spending, for example, could produce a financial gain of approximately $820,000 to $1.8 million from test score increases, though losses from disciplinary problems could cost schools between $25,800 to $53,440 from lower attendance rates and administrative expenses related to suspensions and expulsions.

While the researchers found increased internet access could lead to a rise in negative behaviors like cyberbullying, the study suggests this highlights the need for strategic planning in internet investments, including online safety training and strong consideration of the boundaries of school access.

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