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The nine-person ISL team, funded by the Internet Society Foundation, looked into 13 schools in each state as well as Washington, D.C., viewing information from 663 schools in all — 12 public and one private per state, in urban and rural areas, and evenly divided by grade, covering an estimated 455,882 students.
The study found the schools collectively recommended 1,722 different apps, and ISL tested 1,357 of those. All told, the researchers collected 88,000 data points on the apps and more than 29,000 data points on the schools, the release said.
The ISL report said that while schools are trying to be helpful by providing more technology — an average of 125 technologies per school, or an average of 172 among schools that had some kind of vetting process — more is not better, given the poor scores of the apps in their research. Of the 96 percent of the apps that share data with third parties, 78 percent of the time it was with advertising and data analytics entities, and often without user consent, the release said. LeVasseur said most of the time, it was when schools used custom apps.