Slow Internet is Creating an Obstacle to Students’ Academic Success

Our team’s system map detailing the factors surrounding internet speed and academic performance. This same systems map is available as an interactive webpage using the link further down the article.
  • Checking grades (90%)
  • Creating online documents (87%)
  • Doing research (85%)
  • Turning in homework (83%)
  • Working on projects with peers (82%)
  • Looking up class information (74%)
  • Watching educational videos (70%)
  • Reading books and online articles (58%)
  • Using online textbooks (53%)
Fig. 1 (above): The common academic activities students use the internet at school for. Notice that those with slower internet (defined as speeds lower than broadband) or no internet generally perform these academic activities less, potentially leading to missed avenues of communication from not emailing teachers or messaging classmates for help. Source.
Table 1 (above): The frequency of leaving homework incomplete due to lack of internet. Notice that those with slow home internet access do this “Often” 5 times more than those with fast home internet. This suggests a positively correlated relationship between internet speed and homework completion. Source.
Fig. 2 (above): A positive, strong correlation between digital skills and SAT/PSAT Percentile rank. As SAT percentile is a factor in college admissions, this implies that the level of digital skills a student has can have influence on what college they attend.
  • Newcastle, California (3.7 Mbps)
  • Qulin, Missouri (4.3 Mbps)
  • Spring Hills, Kansas (4.8 Mbps)
  • Erin, Tennessee (5 Mbps)
  • Westphalia, Michigan (5.3 Mbps)
  • Sylva, North Carolina (5.4 Mbps)
  • Stevensville, Montana (5.6 Mbps)
  • Hawaiian Ocean View, Hawaii (6.2 Mbps)
  • Trenton, Florida (6.3 Mbps)
  • Nevada City, California (6.7 Mbps)
  1. What percentage of students at your school do not have internet access?
  2. What is the average level of internet access your students have? Is it below, at, or above broadband speeds of 25 Mbps?
  3. Does your school provide mobile hotspots to your students? If so, what percentage of students have one? What internet speed can these hotspots provide?
  4. Have students or parents complained that lack of internet access has prevented learning in any capacity (inability to turn in assignments, missed avenues of communication, etc.)?
  5. How has COVID impacted the reliance on the internet at your school? If so, does the increased reliance on the internet have any correlation with any other learning metric? (grades, missed assignments, ability to communicate with teachers?)
  6. Are there any school initiatives to improve internet access? If so, have they helped? (improved student motivation, students claim it helps, increased test scores or grades, etc.)
  7. Is there any additional comments about your student’s level of internet access and its impact on their school performance you would like to share?

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store