Technology and internet access for rural students in some parts of the U.S. is unreliable at best, and this limited access could adversely affect their learning.
Rural students are less likely than non-rural students to claim that their home internet access is “great” (36 percent versus 46 percent).
Home internet access for rural students is vital for learning, as report after report consistently identify the growing homework gap as detrimental to student achievement.
Related: Learn how districts are trying to close the homework gap
The report, based on a survey of students who took the national ACT test, also reveals that internet access for rural students is temperamental–they are nearly twice as likely as non-rural students to say their internet access is “unpredictable” (16 percent versus 9 percent).
Rural and non-rural students also have differing access to devices at school and at home. Rural students report somewhat less access to a laptop or desktop computer at home compared to non-rural students (82 percent versus 87 percent).
Given that rural students lack access to rigorous coursework, this lack of technological access may impede their academic success. If internet access for rural students isn’t reliable, they can’t take advantage of advanced-level courses that may only be available online.
Access to a computer with a dedicated keyboard also varies between rural and non-rural students. Lack of this type of access may make schoolwork-related tasks like conducting research or writing more difficult–even if internet access for rural students is in place, lacking the proper tools impedes academic progress if homework takes twice as long on a device without a dedicated keyboard.