Mission & Impact
Conduct Educational Research
Partner4CS activities are informed by evidence-based contributions to research on teacher preparation and PD, teaching and learning of CS, and broadening participation in computing. In turn, our continuous research and evaluation adds to this knowledge base. We utilize both quantitative methods such as surveys assessing teacher knowledge, undergraduates’ attitudes, and students’ content knowledge and motivation towards CS careers as well as in-depth qualitative methods such as observations, reflective journals, and collection of artifacts.
Establish Pre-Service Teaching Training
The Partner4CS team is developing and adapting courses and curricula to create a certificate program for pre-service teachers at the University of Delaware and in-service teachers in computer science education for K-12.
Affect Policy Change
A major goal of Partner4CS was to work towards policy changes that would create pathways for CS and encourage broader participation in computing. Partner4CS participated in the state’s effort to create a Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway in CS that consists of a sequence of three courses, including two NSF-supported curricula: ECS, CSP and CS AP, starting with the ECS course in fall 2015. Partner4CS was also successful in establishing the only Computer Science Teacher Association (CSTA) chapter in Delaware.
Increase Reach and Sustainability
The Partner4CS team seeks to increase the reach and sustainability of our models and interventions through coherent activities engaging experts in CS, educational researchers, educational practitioners, and state stakeholders. Since 2012, we have established strategic partnerships with 7 school districts, teachers in over 25 schools, policy makers, and STEM leaders at the state level.
Support Teachers in CS
The overall mission of Partner4CS is to improve the teaching and learning of Computer Science (CS) in K-12 schools in the Delaware region, to broaden participation of students in the creative activities of computer science, particularly within diverse populations.
The Partner4CS Team is building research-based sustainable models for teacher preparation and support that promote the implementation of the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles (CSP) curriculum throughout the Delaware region. Through a network of universities, faculty, undergraduates, teachers, students and policy makers in the state of Delaware, the overall objective is to establish evidence-based professional development (PD) models and support that would improve the teaching and learning of Computer Science (CS) within diverse populations.
The Partner4CS project at the University of Delaware was launched in 2012 with four main goals: (a) provide effective PD to teachers in Grades 6-12 that will improve content and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in teaching CS; (b) develop a Field Experience university course that partners undergraduates with practicing teachers in the field for on-going support; (c) establish strong partnerships with school districts, teachers, policy makers and STEM leaders at the state level; and (d) influence policy changes at the state level in the area of CS.
Since 2012, Partner4CS has accomplished significant objectives:
- Designed and implemented a 2-track summer professional development institute – for high school teachers implementing CSP and for middle/high school teachers integrating CSP modules into existing STEM curricula
- Developed a permanent Field Experiences in Teaching Computer Science university course that fulfills requirements for a CS major and minor and involves undergraduates supporting teachers in their classrooms
- Initiated the only CSTA chapter in Delaware, which is actively holding monthly meetings led by Partner4CS-trained teachers
- Established strong partnerships with school districts, teachers, policy makers, and state-level STEM leaders
- Collaborated with the Delaware Department of Education to establish a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Pathway in CS starting Fall 2015.
Summer Workshop Goals
Establish the Fundamentals
Teach From the Inside Out
CS is Problem Solving
Partner4CS Professional Development Outcomes
School Districts Impacted
Professional Development Course
In summer 2013, we developed and held our first week-long face-to-face professional development institute for teachers in grades 6-12 based on prior NSF-supported PD models. We subsequently revised it using evaluation results for another institute in summer 2014. Our summer 2014 and 2015 PD were organized in two parallel tracks: the CSP Track served high school teachers who expressed commitment in implementing the full CSP curriculum in their classroom. The Module Track served middle and high school teachers committed to integrating CSP modules into existing STEM curricula. Since 2012, we have provided PD to 96 teachers representing 7 different school districts and over 25 schools.
Following the summer 2014 institute, we distributed an implementation survey to document the ways in which participating teachers applied new learning into practice. Findings revealed that 12 participants integrated CS modules into their classroom practice in a variety of courses including CS electives (Introductory levels and AP level), Engineering courses, Physics, Environmental Science, and other middle school STEM related areas including after-school computing programs. These teachers estimated that they reached close to 1000 students.
While our summer PD institutes provide opportunities for the development of knowledge, skills, and pedagogy in teaching computing, teachers need ongoing support throughout the academic year. To accomplish this goal, we established a Field Experience university course, where undergraduates in CS and secondary education directly support teachers in their classrooms. The course, which is open to students who have completed at least one prior CS course, is based upon prior NSF-supported service-learning models and fulfills requirements for a CS major, minor and discovery learning. It has been offered continuously since the spring of 2013 and a permanent course number has been established. During that time, undergraduates worked collaboratively with Partner4CS teachers to adapt lessons and activities from available resources (e.g., units on programming, HTML, and Human Computer Interaction), lead classroom sessions, and serve as role models for students. They also helped plan and lead after-school computing programs where they engaged students in programming activities using Scratch, shown to help broaden participation in creating with computing. Throughout the duration of the project, we reached 60 undergraduates supporting a total of 21 teachers and approximately 500 students in nearby Delaware middle and high schools.
In summary, our findings indicate that the Field Experience model holds promise for the successful infusion of CS content in middle and high school classrooms through supporting teachers, while simultaneously providing numerous benefits to CS and secondary education undergraduates.