FACTS: Foundations of Achievement through Computational Thinking Skills

Dr. Lisa Ventry Milenkovic, Principal Investigator

lisa.milenkovic@browardschools.com - 754-321-2119


Goals/Objectives of Project:

  • To provide evidence to support the benefits of introducing computing as part of the core curriculum in the elementary school day.
  • To provide foundational data regarding the effects of implementing a rigorous computing curriculum on achievement in literacy, mathematics and science in the elementary grades.
  • To yield information and longitudinal data to inform the development of learning progressions and determination of lowest anchor points for computing and computational thinking in grades K-5.
  • To provide curricular materials and the results of the research on achievement measures for broad dissemination and application.
  • To increase exposure and participation of females and underrepresented minorities through the selection of the curricular interventions and their application through the core curriculum within the regular school day.
  • To provide data across a wide range of grades, classrooms, and demographic groups and determine best practices for creating a pipeline for advanced studies that includes a broad demographic.
  • To determine if introducing students to the use of computing as a tool for problem solving early in the students' education, results in increased selection of technology as a career, helping to close the supply and demand gap in computer science college programs and careers.

Description of Project:

Computer science and computational thinking are often not directly addressed in the elementary grades. This research will provide data to demonstrate that computational thinking skills taught with a rigorous computing curriculum will increase not only exposure to computing and engagement in school of students, especially girls and underrepresented minorities, but also their academic achievement. This Broadening Participation and Education in Computing project will introduce a structured computing curriculum integrated into the K-5 core curriculum in diverse elementary schools and measure the effect of the interventions on achievement in literacy, mathematics and science. Interventions will be implemented to reach all elementary students – K-5. Longitudinal data will be measured as students matriculate to middle school. All results will be disaggregated by demographic to demonstrate effects on broadening participation and scholastic achievement. The project will have an ongoing focus on teacher preparation and multi-tiered support for curriculum implementation with fidelity.


Computer Science in BCPS – Collaboration Opportunities:

In 2013, BCPS, the nation’s sixth largest district with 230 schools and over 250,000 students, became the first school district to partner with Code.org to increase access to computer science courses, curriculum and resources in middle and high schools through the partnership and elementary schools through the Code.org K5 affiliate program. As a result, the number of schools providing computer science courses, curriculum or resources increased from nine high schools offering AP Computer Science to 120 schools (and growing) offering computer science curriculum, currently impacting more than 11,500 students in grades K-12. 

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1440821. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.