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How America's Schools are Addressing the Homework Gap: Speak Up 2017 Findings May 2018


With the “digital divide,” the focus was on the students who did not have access to technology or the internet outside of school. With the “homework gap,” our new focus is on the quality of that access to technology and the internet outside of school.

Access should be:

  • In environments that are safe for students
  • Consistent and reliable
  • High-quality speed and bandwidth
  • With tools that are appropriate for schoolwork

44% of principals say ensuring student access to technology outside of school (digital equity) is a major challenge today; Compared to only 12% of principals 10 years ago

13% of students in grades 6-12 say sometimes they cannot do homework because they lack internet access outside of school

53% of teachers say they need confidence that their students have access to consistent and safe Internet outside of school in order to effectively integrate technology in the classroom

Homework Gap Students Are Resourceful

Students impacted by the homework gap find ways to get online to do homework.

53% go to school early or stay late, 36% go to fast food restaurants or cafés, 30% go to the public library.

How Schools & Districts Are Addressing the Homework Gap

  Doing This Considering No Plans
Allowing students on campus before/after school 65% 19% 16%
Telling students to download assignments to USB sticks 54% 17% 29%
Encouraging public libraries to give students priority 51% 22% 26%
Discouraging homework that is digital or online 41% 20% 40%
Providing wifi in parking lots 41% 16% 42%
Working with fast food restaurants to provide safe spaces for students 17% 24% 58%
Putting wifi hotspots on school buses 6% 30% 65%
Paying for home internet for low-income families 4% 14% 83%

47% of school tech leaders say the homework gap is a major challenge associated with implementing more cloud solutions

Tech Leaders Predict High Growth By 2019 Among Multiple Online Tools & Approaches:
53% Blended learning model, 36% Online textbooks, 29% Online classes for students

Source: Speak Up Research Initiative, 2017-18 Findings - the results of the authentic, unfiltered views of 406,779 K-12 students, parents, and educators from around the world. Speak Up is an annual research initiative of Project Tomorrow, a global nonprofit organization. Surveys were open from October 2017 through February 2018. Learn more about Speak Up and other research findings from Project Tomorrow at tomorrow.org.