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Should the Digital Divide Be Closed?

More evidence that technology doesn’t always equal higher test scores: a new working paper by Jacob L. Vigdor and Helen F. Ladd examines the effects of home computer and internet access on test scores. Consistent with the research of Ofer Malamud and Cristian Pop-Eleches, Vigdor and Ladd found that “the introduction of home computer technology is associated with modest but statistically significant and persistent negative impacts on student math and reading test scores.” The authors also found that internet access had differential effects across student groups: “The evidence is consistent with the view that internet service, and technology more broadly, is put to more productive use in households with more effective parental monitoring of child behavior.” Their findings raise questions about policies aimed at closing the “digital divide.”[%comments]