The rapid expansion of computer science (CS) instruction in primary and secondary education has highlighted the shortage of teachers qualified to teach the subject. A key strategy for building CS teaching capacity has been preparing teachers of other subjects (e.g., math, technology applications, business) to teach introductory CS through short-term professional development (PD) workshops or online training modules. However, these professional learning experiences tend to be brief in duration and focused on short-term adoption of specific CS curricula, or technology-enhanced tools at the expense of developing teachers’ conceptual understanding of CS standards, and pedagogy for monitoring and supporting students’ progress toward the standards. This white paper highlights some of the challenges faced by current CS teachers and presents a call to action for states and school districts to support CS teacher capacity building through standards-aligned, sustained, scalable, and reusable teacher PD that focuses on promoting teachers’ CS formative assessment literacy as a way to improve teachers’ ability to effectively teach CS. The corresponding practice guide provides concrete steps to systematically develop or select formative assessment tasks and use them to inform instruction.
In Designing for Diversity Part 1: Where is Equity and Inclusion in Curriculum Design?, we addressed the lack of equity and inclusivity in many curriculum materials and questioned whether established approaches to designing and implementing STEM+CS curricula were suitable to the diverse needs of students. In Designing for Diversity Part 2: The Equity and Inclusion Framework for Curriculum Design, we described The Equity and Inclusion Framework for Curriculum Design (EI-CD) approach for designing and modifying STEM+CS curriculum materials. We introduced two tools—the Equity and Inclusion Design Principles (EI Design Principles) and Equity and Inclusion Planning Guide (EI Planning Guide). They support the implementation of the EI-CD approach, a curriculum design and modification cycle that integrates equity and inclusion into curriculum design. The EI-CD approach encourages state and local education leaders, community stakeholders, student advocates, and other contributors to STEM+CS education to collaborate in building the cultural context into the design or modification of curriculum materials. In this paper, we provide suggestions for how state and local leaders can move towards transformation and change in curriculum use in schools and communities that serve students with diverse needs, strengths, and contributions to society.
In Designing for Diversity Part 1, Where is Equity and Inclusion in Curriculum Design? we noted the lack of equity and inclusivity in the creation of widely disseminated curriculum materials. We asked the question: Are the established approaches to designing and implementing science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science (STEM+CS) curricula suitable to the diverse needs of students? In this paper, we introduce The Equity and Inclusion Framework for Curriculum Design (EI-CD) approach and Equity and Inclusion Design Principles (EI Design Principles). The framework is guided by evidence-centered design (ECD) methods originally developed for formative assessment (Alozie et al., 2018) and the design of instructional materials (Fujii et al., 2020).
This paper describes how the EI-CD approach can be used to review and modify existing curriculum and instructional materials to meet equity and inclusivity goals. It is intended to help districts and schools work toward equity and inclusion within the constraints of their current curriculum. At its core, the EI-CD approach creates feedback loops that are grounded in EI Design Principles and aimed at continuously learning about and addressing the unique needs of students. The EI-CD approach makes equity and inclusion central tenets of the curriculum development and/or modification process.
High-quality STEM+CS curricula should not only incorporate our most current standards; they should also be equitable and inclusive. Curricula do not exist in a vacuum; teachers interpret curricula based on their own frameworks, and students experience curricula through their own lenses. This human interaction with curricula means that issues of equity and inclusion must be addressed; without doing so, some people will have greater access than others. But how well suited are established approaches to informing, designing, and implementing STEM+CS curricula to the diverse needs of diverse students? This whitepaper series proposes a novel approach to designing and/or modifying instructional materials that address diversity by purposefully and systemically integrating equity and inclusion principles at the onset of curriculum design.
This paper, the first in a series of three, describes why current approaches to designing STEM+CS curricula are inadequate; defines diversity, equity, and inclusion in the context of curriculum design; and introduces The Equity and Inclusion Framework for Curriculum Design (EI-CD) approach for designing and adapting STEM+CS curriculum materials to meet the needs of diverse students. A second paper describes the EI-CD approach in detail, showing how the structure, coherence, and rigor of evidence-centered design is leveraged. The third and final paper explores how state and local education leaders can work with the EI-CD approach to make STEM+CS instruction more equitable and inclusive.
This paper describes five levers CSU campus-district partnerships used to make clinically oriented reforms to teacher preparation as part of the New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI): 1) identifying prioritized skills; 2) selecting or creating a rubric to assess candidate proficiency with prioritized skills; 3) integrating and expanding opportunities to practice prioritized skills; 4) reconceptualizing clinical roles, selection, and support; and, 5) defining and implementing processes to provide feedback on prioritized skills. This paper is one of a four-part series sharing lessons learned from NGEI, a multiyear effort to improve teacher preparation at 11 California State Universities teacher preparation programs (TPPs) in partnership with local public-school districts.
This paper describes four levers that helped university-district partnerships participating in the New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI) use data and continuous improvement practices to execute teacher preparation reforms: 1) developing data sources that can inform improvement efforts; 2) delineating clear roles to support continuous improvement; 3) building an infrastructure for efficient data entry and analysis; and 4) establishing a culture of improvement through routines for data review and use. This paper is one of a four-part series sharing lessons learned from NGEI, a multiyear effort to improve teacher preparation at 11 California State Universities teacher preparation programs (TPPs) in partnership with local public-school districts.
This paper describes three levers that helped the funder, the S.D., Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, execute the New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI): 1) balancing grant requirements with flexibility and responsive support; 2) customizing technical assistance support to meet partnership needs; and 3) embedding opportunities for cross-networked learning and collaboration. This paper is one of a four-part series sharing lessons learned from NGEI, a multiyear effort to improve teacher preparation at 11 California State Universities teacher preparation programs (TPPs) in partnership with local public-school districts.
This paper describes four levers university teacher preparation programs (TPPs) and districts participating in the New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI) used to create strong partnerships: 1) creating and operationalizing a shared vision; 2) identifying key roles; 3) ensuring space and time to collaborate; and, 4) sharing data to identify needs and monitor progress. This paper is one of a four-part series sharing lessons learned from NGEI, a multiyear effort to improve teacher preparation at 11 California State University TPPs in partnership with local public-school districts.
Transforming thought to verbalizations: Supporting verbal communication in middle school collaboration activities
Collaboration is an important 21st-century skill that students must be able to master as they progress through school and into their careers (National Research Council [NRC], 2012). Collaboration is also an integral part of STEM learning and is included in many of the recent efforts to revise learning goals for students (such as the Next Generation Science Standards). We analyzed over 200 middle school students that worked collaboratively to develop instructional guides for teachers and students that use collaboration for problems solving and designing artifacts in science. We show how students worked together to determine how to solve problems by (1) negotiating what the task was asking, (2) understanding what other group members were contributing, (3) working through disagreements, and (4) converging on a solution. Finally, we provide guidance for what to look for during instruction to determine students’ collective progress as collaborators.