Program Evaluation, Assessment, and Teacher Professional Learning
Understanding computing is a core competency in the digital age. At WestEd, we work to make computing education more equitable and accessible for all age groups and to improve teaching and learning.
Our team cultivates partnerships with school districts, curriculum developers, teacher educators, and non-profit computing education organizations. We ground our research in authentic problems of practice, serve as thought partners to our collaborators, evaluate the efficacy of programs at different stages of development, and develop measures of student learning and teacher practice.
We share our work and findings broadly, contributing to research literature but also generating actionable insights for practitioners.
Our Work in Action: Evaluation and Implementation
External Evaluation of a Large, Urban Computer Science Program
San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) was one of the first large, urban school districts to join the nation’s Computer Science (CS) for All movement. Since 2018, our researchers have worked closely with classroom teachers, Computer Science department staff, and district research staff to promote success by:
- Assessing student computer science learning at scale
- Designing and piloting activities to support teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge
- Analyzing effectiveness of teacher professional learning
External Evaluation for All Star Code
All Star Code (ASC) offers a six-week coding entrepreneurship program for young men called the Summer Intensive (SI) that has reached over 500 scholars in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Collaborating to provide evaluation services from 2014 through 2020, our researchers supported ASC by:
- Gathering evidence related to student outcomes and program implementation
- Identifying recommendations related to program design and scaling goals
- Supporting ASC in redesigning their measurement and evaluation processes and developing their internal evaluation capacity
California Department of Education (CDE) Computer Science Standards and Strategic Implementation Plan
Our team supported California (2017-19) in developing their first content standards for Computer Science and we helped develop a strategic implementation plan for scaling K-12 CS education across the state, serving as co-writers for both the content standards and the implementation plan.
This work included:
- Attending advisory panel meetings with K-12 teachers, university professors, nonprofit advocates, community advisors, and CDE staff
- Synthesizing recommendations from panels along with research on the state of CS education
- Presenting at state board meetings
Yvonne Kao, Ph.D. is fascinated by student thinking about computer science. A cognitive psychologist by training, her passion lies in discovering what students know and in understanding how to develop students from computing novices into computing experts. Her work is mindful of the role that social systems play in determining who enters and persists in computing education. She seeks to develop and elevate equitable practices for teaching computing content and assessing computing knowledge.
Aleata Hubbard Cheuoua is a Senior Research Associate in WestEd’s Learning and Technology team. Hubbard Cheuoua is committed to improving the learning and teaching of computing. Her research focuses on documenting and understanding the knowledge that K–12 educators develop around how to teach computing. She also conducts program evaluations for organizations focused on informal and alternative pathways into computing and professional learning for high school and community college instructors.