Digital equity in education and state-level education technology policies: A multi-level analysis
Jonathan David Becker, Columbia University, United States
Columbia University . Awarded
The balance of authority in education generally, and in the domain of education technology specifically, has shifted from local education agencies to the states. Furthermore, the major goal of early days education technology policy was equitable access and use.
Using data from the NAEP state assessment and a survey of state-level technology policies, this study examined digital equity in education as a multilevel organizational phenomenon. Ultimately, data from 70,382 students in 3,479 schools from 40 states were analyzed through hierarchical linear modeling to determine if there are differences across schools in computer access and differences within schools in frequency of computer use. Simultaneously, the effects of state policies on access and use were examined.
The findings on computer access suggested that there may be inequities in access. Specifically, students in rural schools or schools with higher percentages of African-American students were likely to have less access to computers. With respect to computer use, there were student-level differences that vary between schools, and that were, to some degree, related to school characteristics. Specifically, girls and students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch were more likely to use computers more frequently when computers are available in the classroom. Also, students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch were more likely to use computers more frequently when their schools are in urban areas and/or have higher percentages of African-American students. Finally, African-American and Latina/o students were more likely to use computers more frequently when they are in schools with greater percentages of students of their own race.
In terms of state policies, the results suggested that no more than 5% of the variance in computer access can be attributed to state factors, and less than 1% of the variance in computer use was between states. Yet, the findings suggested that where student technology standards are integrated into subject-area standards, computer use was likely lower than in other states. However, in states where pre-service teachers must meet technology-related requirements to receive their teaching credential and states where funds earmarked for technology are distributed as competitive grants, computer use was likely to be higher.
Becker, J.D. Digital equity in education and state-level education technology policies: A multi-level analysis. Ph.D. thesis, Columbia University.
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