Diana Franklin, Phillip Conrad, Bryce Boe, Katy Nilsen, Charlotte Hill, Michelle Len, Greg Dreschler, Gerardo Aldana, Paulo Almeida-Tanaka, Brynn Kiefer, Chelsea Laird, Felicia Lopez, Christine Pham, Jessica Suarez, and Robert Waite. 2013. Assessment of computer science learning in a scratch-based outreach program. In Proceeding of the 44th ACM technical symposium on Computer science education (SIGCSE '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 371-376.
Many institutions have created and deployed outreach programs for middle school students with the goal of increasing the number and diversity of students who later pursue careers in computer science. While these programs have been shown to increase interest in computer science, there has been less work on showing whether participants learn computer science content. We address two questions, one specific, and the other more general: (1) “What computer science did our middle school students learn in our interdisciplinary two-week summer camp?” (2) “How can computer science concepts be assessed in the context of Scratch-based outreach programs”? We address both questions by presenting the design of our summer camp, an overview of our curriculum, our assessment methodology, and our assessment results. Though the sample size is not statistically significant, the results show that a two-week, interdisciplinary, non-academic summer camp can be effective not only for engaging students, but also for imparting CS content. In just two weeks, with a curriculum not entirely focused on computer science, students displayed competence with event-driven programming, initialization of state, message passing, and say/sound synchronization. We have employed assessment methodologies that avoid written exams, an approach both outreach and classroom-based programs may find useful.
Download PDF DOI: 2445196.2445304