Scaling the Digital Divide: The Effects of the Digital Divide on Rural Texas Students

Wang, Emily
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Nearly 275,000 Texas students lack bandwidth needed for digital learning and there are more schools in rural areas in Texas than in any other state. The question my thesis will be exploring is: To what extent does the digital divide (more specifically, the lack of broadband Internet access) impact student performance (graduation rates, standardized testing scores) and opportunity (percentage of students that proceed with higher education) in rural vs. urban regions in Texas high schools? I will first consider the existing research that has been conducted in the field of digital divide to understand the reach and impact of the divide. Second, I will conduct a quantitative analysis comparing student performance on end-of-course exams with broadband access rates. Third, I will analyze the effectiveness of current legislation addressing digital divide and propose my own recommendations for future policies.