Date of Submission

Spring 2021

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Justin Dainer-Best

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The socioeconomic achievement gap refers to how students of lower socioeconomic status (SES) underperform academically relative to their higher SES peers. In addressing this issue, researchers have considered online learning as a potential solution. Because online learning platforms provide increased flexibility and access for students, some argue that online education will democratize education and narrow the socioeconomic achievement gap. As such, in recent decades, online learning has increasingly been used as an addition to and, in some cases, even a replacement for in-person learning. A closer examination of the subject, however, reveals that the widespread adoption of online learning may actually exacerbate the achievement gap. This paper focuses on four ways in which online learning can actually widen the achievement gap: exacerbating the educational digital divide, increasing the demands of student self regulated learning, keeping lower SES students in environments not conducive to successful learning, and reducing the possibility of protective social support. However, this paper will also explore ways in which online platforms can be used as a method of narrowing the SES achievement gap. Rather than simply trying to imitate a classroom environment over the internet, online platforms may be used as a tool for socioeconomic integration .

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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