CS in Schools Evaluation: An industry-school partnership supporting secondary teachers to teach computer programming
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The aim of this document is to evaluate the pilot of the CS in Schools initiative. This evaluation provides information about the delivery and implementation of the CS in Schools pilot, considering the perspectives and values of different stakeholders, including teachers and industry volunteers. The document also examines the aims of the CS in Schools program, including factors that act as barriers or facilitators of the program and identifies ways to potentially improve the efficacy of the program. A key aim of the CS in Schools program is to help high school teachers develop their confidence and competence in teaching computer science. In our evaluation, there was evidence to indicate that teachers in the study typically increased their self-efficacy to teach computer programming, with the support offered in the program commonly acting as a kind scaffold for in-service teachers develop their skills and knowledge of coding language and programming. Teachers generally held positive views of the pre-designed resources-inclusive of its scope, clarity and alignment with the curriculum. Moreover, they also frequently liked the in-classroom immediate access to expertise from industry volunteers. This element of CS in Schools speaks to the untapped value of industry-school partnerships in an effective, contemporary STEM education school syllabus. Conversely, some teachers in the study viewed the explicit pedagogy, which mostly underpins the design of the CS in Schools teaching resources, did not align with the pedagogical philosophies they espoused or wanted to facilitate in their learning environment. Other teachers commented that particularly for more advanced students, that the pacing constrained some students in the pilot. Teachers’ lack of familiarly with the content was another concern raised by participates. In relation to the industry volunteers, there was often an altruistic element to their underlying motivations to volunteer in CS in Schools, together with a perception that was a lag or deficit in the use of digital technology in schools and what industry trends. Other motivations for some to participate in the program included an eagerness for a professional challenge and the potential to network with others. Addressing several barriers such as network hardware, software configuration and platforms (e.g. firewalls, password access/ management) in addition to adapting the program to align with individual school needs (e.g. timetables, educator expertise) is likely to improve the efficacy of the CS in Schools program. As the CS in Schools initiative is in its relative infancy, it’s expected that this document will be useful for future iterations of the program and may helpful in addressing perceived areas of improvement and informing future directions of the initiative.
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