Evaluation of CISE Pathways to Revitalized Undergraduate Computer Education | SRI International

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Evaluation of CISE Pathways to Revitalized Undergraduate Computer Education

The National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Computer Information Science and Engineering Directorate (CISE) Pathways to Revitalized Undergraduate Computer Education (CPATH) program was based on the recognition that a U.S. workforce with computing competencies and skills is crucial to the nation's health, security, and prosperity in the 21st century. Today's workforce needs to include professionals with the depth and breadth needed to sustain U.S. leadership in a wide range of application domains and career fields. It also needs a broader professional workforce with deep knowledge and understanding of critical computing concepts, computational thinking methodologies, and techniques.

The U.S. workforce's needs and its computing technologies have changed dramatically in recent decades, as computers have permeated and transformed nearly all aspects of society. Undergraduate computing education, however, often looks much as it did several decades ago. As a result, computing education is not optimally designed and structured to meet current and future national needs. The CPATH program was intended to transform undergraduate computing education on a national scale through various projects funded by the NSF.

NSF asked SRI to describe and document the program strategies used in infusing computational thinking across different contexts and disciplines. In particular, this evaluation:

  • Described the various CPATH project types, new curricular and pedagogical innovations, and promising models of institutional change
  • Examined the development of communities of practitioners and the dissemination of best practices around computational thinking
  • Examined the evidence for how the program is preparing students for the STEM workforce

SRI collected both survey and qualitative data to describe and document program strategies. All individual project principal investigators were asked to complete an annual data monitoring tool. Twice throughout the duration of the project, a number of faculty members at participating institutions were asked to complete a faculty survey. Additionally, SRI conducted annual visits to a sample of grantee institutions to document implementation over time, to identify barriers and facilitating factors that lead to successful implementation.

Co-Principal Investigator: Raymond McGhee