According to the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (1997, 21), 4 to 5 students per computer is the ratio "that many experts consider to represent a reasonable level for the effective use of computers within the schools." In 1999, the ratio of students per instructional computer in public schools was approximately 6, the same as 1998 (not shown). Overall, within types of schools, ratios of students to instructional computer stayed the same or decreased slightly between 1998 and 1999.
The ratio of students per instructional computer with Internet access decreased from 12 to 9 from 1998 to 1999, although differences remain across schools with different characteristics (Table 1). For example, medium-sized and large schools had more students per computer with Internet access than small schools, 9 and 10 students compared to 6 students. Schools located in cities had more students per computer with Internet access (11) than schools in rural areas (7). The largest differences occurred in schools with varying concentrations of poverty. Schools with the highest concentration of poverty had 16 students per instructional computer with Internet access, compared to 7 among schools with the lowest concentration of poverty.