March 3, 2021

EDC Awarded Education Innovation Research Grant for Beauty & Joy of Computing

EDC has received an Early-Phase Education Innovation Research (EIR) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to carry out Improving Equity in Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science (CS) Principles: Scaling Beauty and Joy of Computing. Guided by the goal to make CS education more engaging and equitable for female students, Black students, Latinx students, and students from low-income families, the project will reach an estimated 2,000 students and 100 teachers nationwide.

Over the next five years, June Mark and Deborah Spencer, of EDC, and Linda Caswell, of Abt Associates, will lead a team in refining and studying the impact of the Improving Equity in AP CS Principles program. The two-year program is centered on EDC’s and the University of California, Berkeley’s (UCB) Beauty and Joy of Computing.

The new EIR project builds on the successes of previous National Science Foundation-funded education R&D. Over six years, EDC partnered with New York City educators and students to develop and test the Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) course. Endorsed by the College Board, the course and its related professional development for teachers have been implemented in more than 100 high schools, reaching over 4,000 New York City students and 6,000 students nationwide.

In the new project, EDC will work closely with partners Abt Associates and North Carolina State University to scale up the course, in collaboration with an illustrious group of key contributors: UCB, Microsoft TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools), SAP, and the College Board. Together, the team will engage in a rigorous study of implementation and impacts—the hallmarks of the EIR program—to deepen understanding of the supports needed to ensure the program improves student achievement and attainment.

The project will feature the following three central components:

1. A school CS equity program designed to broaden participation in CS coursework by using specific strategies and resources to recruit, enroll, and retain students from groups underrepresented in CS (e.g., female students, Black students, Latinx students, students from low-income families)

2. A teacher learning program that builds capacity for equitable and rigorous CS instruction and prepares teachers to support students’ successful completion of AP CSP

3. An emphasis on supporting effective use of BJC, including following the AP CSP framework and BJC design principles

“We are delighted to be able to further strengthen and scale Beauty and Joy of Computing,” said Mark. “The EIR award will enable us to launch schoolwide CS equity programs that we believe are crucial to engaging and retaining female students, Black students, Latinx students, and students from low-income families in CS education.”

Learn more about our work to improve the quality and equity of STEM education.