To achieve greater perspective on how increasing demand for broadband infrastructure is playing out in schools, in 2015 New America partnered with Virginia’s Alexandria City Public Schools to analyze its network performance, given the technology environment of the division, the connectivity in classrooms, and the instructional use of devices and online resources. As a part of this research, team members interviewed local technology leaders, conducted a division-wide teacher survey, and collected broadband speed data at the classroom level.
This partnership exposed how Virginia’s adoption of online testing influenced the adoption and use of new technologies in the classroom. The commonwealth’s experience foreshadows what awaits states across the country that are just now connecting schools to sufficient broadband service to support online testing. The lessons learned over the past two decades in Virginia should serve as an important roadmap for other states.