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Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities
NCES 2007-039
September 2007

Indicator 19: Computer and Internet Use

Computer literacy is essential in a technologically advanced workforce. Exposure to and use of computers enables students to gain experience and increase their computer knowledge. Examining computer use rates, where these technologies are used, and the characteristics of the users may help address questions of access (Snyder, Tan, and Hoffman 2006, p. 670).

Indicator 19.1. Computer Use

In 2003, 89 percent of 1st -through 12th-grade students used computers at school, compared with 70 percent who used computers at home. Although all racial/ethnic groups shown were more likely to use computers at school than at home, the differences between school and home use were largest among Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native students. Some 87 percent of Black students used a computer at school, compared with 48 percent at home; 85 percent of Hispanic students used a computer at school, compared with 50 percent at home; and 88 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native students used a computer at school, compared with 46 percent at home.

At school, a higher percentage of White students (91 percent) used computers than did Hispanic (85 percent) and Asian/Pacific Islander (84 percent) students. Black students (87 percent) were also more likely than Asian/Pacific Islander students (84 percent) to use computers at school. At home, a higher percentage of White students (81 percent) than all other racial/ethnic groups shown used computers. In addition, Asian/Pacific Islander students (76 percent) were more likely than Hispanic (50 percent), Black (48 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native (46 percent) students to use computers at home.

Differences in use also exist within age groups and by location of computer use. Differences in computer use at school among racial/ethnic groups were more apparent for younger students than for older students. In grades 1 through 5, White students (88 percent) were more likely than Black (83 percent), Hispanic (81 percent), and Asian/Pacific Islander (76 percent) students to use computers at school. In addition, a higher percentage of Black and Hispanic students at the same grade levels used computers at school than did Asian/Pacific Islander students. At home, White students (76 percent) in grades 1 through 5 were more likely than their American Indian/Alaska Native (37 percent), Black (43 percent), Hispanic (43 percent), and Asian/Pacific Islander (65 percent) counterparts to use computers. White 9th- through 12th-grade students (85 percent) were more likely than Black (52 percent), Hispanic (58 percent), or American Indian/Alaska Native students (50 percent) in the same grade range to use computers at home. Asian/Pacific Islander students (90 percent) in the same grade range were more likely to use computers at home than were students of any other racial/ethnic group.

View Table View Table 19.1
View Table View Figure 19.1

Indicator 19.2. Internet Use

The Internet is an important tool for students, both as an information source and as preparation for the technological demands of the current workplace. Patterns of internet use, like those of overall computer use, are one indicator of students' readiness for future jobs (U.S. Department of Education 1998, indicator 4). Internet use rates varied by racial/ethnic group.

A higher percentage of White and Asian/Pacific Islander students in grades 1 through 12 reported using the Internet at home than at school. In contrast, Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native students were more likely to use the Internet at school than at home. In addition, a higher percentage of White students (60 percent) reported using the Internet at home than did students of any other race/ethnicity. Asian/Pacific Islander students (51 percent) also reported using the Internet at home more than Black (29 percent), Hispanic (29 percent), or American Indian/Alaska Native (24 percent) students.

View Table View Table 19.2

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education