The Classroom 21 Project

Quality Internet access improves High School SAT test scores by 38%

The Classroom 21 Story

W4 and University California San Diego/San Diego Super Computer Center collaborate with Industry to Help Bridge Digital Divide

PINE VALLEY, Calif., August 9, 2000 — According to a Congress-mandated report released last week by the Federal Communications Committee, minority Americans living in rural and tribal areas with low incomes are "particularly vulnerable of not having access to advanced (telecommunications) services if deployment is left to market forces alone." Located on the outskirts of San Diego County, Mountain Empire High School definitely falls into this group of "vulnerable" consumers.

To help bridge this potential digital divide, UC San Diego and SDSC partnered with World Wide Wireless Web Corporation (W4) to provide Mountain Empire students with high-speed Internet access, equipment, and curricula. Recently released Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition (SAT9) test scores clearly indicate the program's success, as Classroom 21 students' scores were significantly higher than those of their peers. Beginning in May of 1998, the state of California has required that every student in grades 2-11 is assessed annually on the SAT9, which measures basic skills in reading, language arts, and mathematics.

The improvement was particularly noticeable among those students who fall at the bottom third of their class: scores of Classroom 21 students were 38 percent higher than their non-Classroom 21 counterparts. "These scores are an indication that the program helped those students most in need of academic enrichment," said Greg Ryan, school superintendent for the Mountain Empire district. "Additional preliminary results, such as improved classroom reading and writing skills, also indicate that the program is clearly accomplishing its goal of enriching the education of these students through science and technology."
W4's founders (the TDC staff) were instrumental in bringing Internet connectivity to many universities during the early 90's and are familiar with the needs of educational institutions. The San Diego area is the only region in the United States from which a satellite uplink with direct connection to the North American backbone can see satellites for a direct hop to virtually all locations in Latin America. W4's satellite transmission site and Internet Backbone connection at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) can provide educational institutions anywhere with direct access to high performance Worldwide Web Internet and Internet 2 (Academic Internet).

W4's relationship with the San Diego Supercomputer Center provides additional potential benefits for educational institutions. For research purposes, all the digitized knowledge of mankind is stored at the SDSC. Qualified W4 Affiliates are able to gain direct access to this information through W4.Net.

Access to this information, and the processing thereof, is further enhanced by the fact that SDSC has recently accepted the 1,152-processor IBM RS/6000 SP system. This machine successfully completing a battery of tests that demonstrated stable operation, good performance, and high throughput. The test results show that the new machine will provide the capability to solve problems in days that typically require weeks, months, or years on smaller machines. The IBM SP computer, installed for The National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI) at SDSC, has a peak speed of one terraflops--a trillion floating-point operations per second--and is the most powerful available to the U.S. academic community for unclassified research.


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