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Concepts in K-9 Computer Science Education

Erik Barendsen, Linda Mannila, Barbara Demo, Nataša Grgurina, Cruz Izu, Claudio Mirolo, Sue Sentance, Amber Settle, Gabrielė Stupurienė, Concepts in K-9 Computer Science Education. In: ITICSE-WGR '15 Proceedings of the 2015 ITiCSE on Working Group Reports, 85–116, 2015.



This exploratory study focuses on concepts and their assessment in K-9 computer science (CS) education. We analyzed concepts in local curriculum documents and guidelines, as well as interviewed K-9 teachers in two countries about their teaching and assessment practices. Moreover, we investigated the 'task based assessment' approach of the international Bebras contest by classifying the conceptual content and question structure of Bebras tasks spanning five years. Our results show a variety in breadth and focus in curriculum documents, with the notion of algorithm as a significant common concept. Teachers' practice appears to vary, depending on their respective backgrounds. Informal assessment practices are predominant, especially in the case of younger students. In the Bebras tasks, algorithms and data representation were found to be the main concept categories. The question structure follows specific patterns, but the relative frequencies of the patterns employed in the tasks vary over the years. Our analysis methods appear to be interesting in themselves, and the results of our study give rise to suggestions for follow-up research.

BibTeX entry:

  title = {Concepts in K-9 Computer Science Education},
  booktitle = {ITICSE-WGR '15 Proceedings of the 2015 ITiCSE on Working Group Reports},
  author = {Barendsen, Erik and Mannila, Linda and Demo, Barbara and Grgurina, Nataša and Izu, Cruz and Mirolo, Claudio and Sentance, Sue and Settle, Amber and Stupurienė, Gabrielė},
  pages = {85–116},
  year = {2015},
  keywords = {CS concepts;K-9 education;curricula;teachers;assessment;Bebras},

Belongs to TUCS Research Unit(s): Learning and Reasoning Lab

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