NSF Funds Research to Evaluate Effectiveness of K-12 Computer Skills Initiatives
Researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology and Bradley University have
received a $1.19 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF)
study the effectiveness of K-12 efforts to encourage computing skills.
The research will examine
programs like code.org, Black Girls Code and summer computer camps to
their true impact and identify best practices for long-term success.
"Seeing the explosion of
these organizations, the questions we naturally asked were, 'Does this
what parts are working best?'" Decker said. "There is little to no
data that exists, so we are setting out to find the answers."
The research will be
conducted by Adrienne Decker, an assistant professor of interactive
Rochester, and Monica McGill, an associate professor of game design at
Decker and McGill have
already conducted a pilot online survey of students at six
including their own, to evaluate what programs they might have
before entering college, what they remember and how it impacted them.
With the help of the grant,
they will expand that research to understand the past and current state
affairs with programs and activities that focus on teaching computer
before college. The researchers plan to look at demographic factors,
gender and ethnicity, to help identify what activities work best for
The grant for the project —
titled "Collaborative Research: Establishing and Propagating a Model
Evaluating the Long-Term Impact of Pre-College Computing Activities" —
of several new grants announced Sept. 15 at a White House Computer Science for
All Summit. The NSF will spend $25 million over the next year
and a half to
train teachers in and conduct research on K-12 computing.
Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.