Basu, S., McElhaney, K. W., Grover, S., Harris, C. J., & Biswas, G. (2018). A principled approach to designing assessments that integrate science and computational thinking. In J. Kay & R. Luckin (Eds.), Rethinking learning in the digital age: Making the learning sciences count, 13th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2018, Vol. 1. London, England: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
There is increasing interest in broadening participation in computational thinking (CT) by integrating CT into precollege STEM curricula and instruction. Science, in particular, is emerging as an important discipline to support integrated learning. This highlights the need for carefully designed assessments targeting the integration of science and CT to help teachers and researchers gauge students’ proficiency with integrating the disciplines. We describe a principled design process to develop assessment tasks and rubrics that integrate concepts and practices across science, CT, and computational modeling. We conducted a pilot study with 10 high school students who responded to integrative assessment tasks as part of a physics-based computational modeling unit. Our findings indicate that the tasks and rubrics successfully elicit both Physics and CT constructs while distinguishing important aspects of proficiency related to the two disciplines. This work illustrates the promise of using such assessments formatively in integrated STEM and computing learning contexts.