Study Finds Online Reading Fueling New Income-Based Achievement Gap


Education Week (10/3, Herold) reports a new study by the University of Connecticut in Storrs has found a “large and significant” income-based achievement gap in locating, critically evaluating, synthesizing, and communicating online information. In particular, students struggled gauging the reliability of scientific information. The achievement gap was roughly a year’s education during the middle school years. The study utilized a small sample of upper- and lower-middle income students, failing to include families at or below the poverty line. The model ruled out pre-existing differences in how well students read offline, as well as prior knowledge of material utilized for the study. Though the study did not try to directly identify a cause, it did find students of lower-middle income were six times as likely to report they were never required to use the Internet at school. The remainder of the article interviews the lead author directly and discusses the growing body of national research supporting these findings.