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Work in Progress: A Web-Based Tool to Assess Computational Thinking

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Topics in Computing

Tagged Division

Computing and Information Technology

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Alka R. Harriger Purdue University

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Alka Harriger joined the faculty of the Computer and Information Technology Department (CIT) in 1982 and is currently a Professor of CIT. For the majority of that time, she taught software development courses. From 2008-2014, she led the NSF-ITEST funded SPIRIT (Surprising Possibilities Imagined and Realized through Information Technology) project. From 2013-2018, she co-led with Prof. Brad Harriger the NSF-ITEST funded TECHFIT (Teaching Engineering Concepts to Harness Future Innovators and Technologists) project. Since September 2016, she co-leads the NSF STEM+C project, Curriculum and Assessment Design to Study the Development of Motivation and Computational Thinking for Middle School Students across Three Learning Contexts, that builds on TECHFIT. Professor Harriger's current interests include outreach to K-12 to interest more students to pursue computing careers, applying IT skills to innovating fitness tools, and wearable computing.

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Suyash Agrawal Purdue University

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Suyash Agrawal is currently pursuing M.S.(2019) in Computer Information Technology from Purdue University. He received his B.S.(2014) in Information Technology from JSSATE, Noida, India and then worked at Nokia as a software developer. His current research is focused towards Rapid Application Development.

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Arjun Shakdher Purdue University

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Arjun Shakdher is currently a graduate student in the department of Computer and Information Technology at Purdue University. He has been working as a Graduate Research Assistant since 2017 on an NSF-funded program called TECHFIT, focused on Computational Thinking. His interest lies in Software Development, Cloud Engineering, Machine Learning, Network/Cyber Security, Analytics, Data Science and IT Project Management. He has previously worked as a Software Development Engineer at Ericsson and is an incoming Cloud Engineer at Amazon (2019).

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When President Obama unveiled his plan to give all students in America the opportunity to learn computer science [1], discussions about computational thinking (CT) began in earnest in many organizations across a wide range of disciplines. However, Jeannette Wing stated the importance of CT for everyone a decade earlier in her landmark essay [2]. In recent years, several people and organizations have posted their own definition of CT, which presents a challenge in being able to assess CT understanding and awareness in people. In an effort to build consensus on how to best assess CT, the authors are developing a web-based tool that will enable CT experts globally to populate, review and rate questions that address various attributes of CT.

Teaching Engineering Concepts to Harness Future Innovators and Technologists (TECHFIT) is an NSF-funded project that is examining the impact of the TECHFIT intervention based on the educational program’s delivery context. The CT Assessment System is being developed for TECHFIT as a standard way for teacher participants to gauge CT understanding in their students. It has been designed as a functional, web-based tool that supports management of the CT assessment questions database and giving different levels of access to various stakeholders, including the TECHFIT project team and academicians all over the world.

The CT Assessment System includes features to enable authorized users to review, insert, and update a variety of questions in different formats. The level of access to this system is determined by the roles/permissions granted by the administrator. It also enables users to have the ability to rate the questions. The ratings are then aggregated to yield an overall rating value. The CT Assessment system has the capability to provide a clean, authentic and acceptable way to assess CT abilities via a common platform across the world. Attendees of the paper presentation will be invited to sign up and explore this tool to provide feedback for improvement of the tool.

Harriger, A. R., & Agrawal, S., & Shakdher, A. (2019, June), Work in Progress: A Web-Based Tool to Assess Computational Thinking Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33588

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