Do hotspots improve student performance? Evidence from a small-scale randomized controlled trial

Keywords: Connectivity, Hotspots, Laptops, Homework Gap, Randomized Controlled Trial, Alternative School

Abstract

Much has been made about the “homework gap” that exists between students who have access to the Internet and those that do not. Policy-makers increasingly recognize the connectivity aspect of this issue but typically fail to acknowledge the importance of computer ownership. We use a small-scale randomized controlled trial (n=18) to test whether the provision of Internet access by itself — or in conjunction with a laptop computer — improves educational outcomes of alternative high-school students in the U.S. Our results suggest that the combination of Internet access and computer ownership is more effective than Internet access alone for positive educational outcomes.

Author Biographies

Brian Whitacre, Oklahoma State University

Professor and Jean & Patsy Neustadt Chair in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University

Amanda Higgins, Oklahoma State University

graduate student, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University

Published
2021-06-22
How to Cite
Whitacre, B., & Higgins, A. (2021). Do hotspots improve student performance? Evidence from a small-scale randomized controlled trial. First Monday, 26(7). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v26i7.11467