Study: Internet Has No Impact On Student Performance

Research based on California schools confirmed that the number of poor schools going online increased dramatically, but Internet access has had zero impact on each school's performance on the Stanford Achievement Test.
"I can't rule out other possibilities, but those two seem like the most obvious to me," said Guryan, who conducted the study with fellow economist Austan Goolsbee.

Based on the analysis of SAT scores, E-Rate did not improve performance in each of the six subjects tested, math, reading, science, language, spelling and social studies. The researchers also found that Internet access had no impact on other areas, such as the probability of taking advanced classes, the number of graduates going into the University of California college system or the overall dropout rate.

Given E-Rate's failure to improve student performance, it would be fair for the public to ask whether the money was well spent, if taxpayers expected higher test scores, Guryan said.

"Could there have been a more useful way to spend that money? I don't think we have the final answer to that," he said. "The Internet could in the future turn out to be a very effective way to improve test scores. We just don't have any indication of that yet."

The study is available in the new issue of Education Next, a scholarly journal published by the Hoover Institution.

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