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Monday, July 20, 2015

Sowing the Seeds: A Landscape Study on Assessment in Secondary Computer Science Education

This study summarizes what is known about assessment of student learning in high school Computer Science (CS) in the United States (US), reports on the results of the landscape study, and concludes with recommendations for advancing the state of assessment in K–12 CS. 

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With support from Google, the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Assessment Task Force conducted a study of secondary school educators to determine the state of computer science education assessment and how teachers assess student learning in their computer science classrooms. Based on interviews with computer science practitioners, we found that teachers use a variety of formative and summative assessment techniques, but also face a number of challenges finding valid and reliable assessments to use in their classrooms.

Quality assessment items are few and far between as teachers rely on a assortment of sources (test banks, colleagues, even their own undergraduate CS courses) to evaluate student learning in their classes. Furthermore, teachers in this study discussed how the unique nature of computer science, including how students approach algorithms to write their programs, makes assessment a challenging and time-consuming endeavor. The ubiquity of programs and code on the Internet also makes it difficult for teachers to accurately gauge what students know. 

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Source: Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA)