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Practitioner Perspectives of the Impact of COVID-19 on CS Education in High Schools Serving Historically Marginalized Students (Fundamental)

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Technical Session 7: Cybersecurity and Computing

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Monica McGill

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Dr. Monica McGill is the Founder, President, and CEO of, a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on improving K-12 Computer Science education for all children by enabling and disseminating exemplary, evidence-driven research.

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Angelica Thompson

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Leigh Ann DeLyser

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Eric Snow

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Luronne Vaval

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Stephanie Wortel-London

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Practitioners delivering computer science (CS) education during the COVID-19 pandemic have faced numerous challenges, including the move to online learning. Understanding the impact on students, particularly students from historically marginalized groups within the United States, requires deeper exploration. Our research question for this study was: \textit{In what ways has the high school computer science educational ecosystem for students been impacted by COVID-19, particularly when comparing schools that have student populations with a majority of historically underrepresented students to those that do not?}

To answer this question, we used the CAPE theoretical framework to measure schools’ Capacity to offer CS, student Access to CS education, student Participation in CS, and Experiences of students taking CS. We developed a quantitative instrument based on the results of a qualitative inquiry, then used the instrument to collect data from CS high school practitioners located in the United States (n=185) and performed a comparative analysis of the results.

We found that the numbers of students participating in AP CS A courses, CS related as well as non-CS related extracurricular activities, and multiple extracurricular activities increased. However, schools primarily serving historically underrepresented students had significantly fewer students taking additional CS courses and fewer students participating in CS related extracurricular activities. Student learning in CS courses decreased significantly; however, engagement did not suffer. Other noncognitive factors, like students’ understanding of the relevance of technology and confidence using technology, improved overall; however, student interested in taking additional CS courses was significantly lower in schools primarily serving historically underrepresented students. Last, the numbers of students taking the AP CS A and AP CS Principles exams declined overall.

McGill, M., & Thompson, A., & DeLyser, L. A., & Snow, E., & Vaval, L., & Wortel-London, S. (2022, August), Practitioner Perspectives of the Impact of COVID-19 on CS Education in High Schools Serving Historically Marginalized Students (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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