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[Work in Progress] Iterative development of an IT solution supporting Early Learning Standards

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2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting


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Publication Date

November 12, 2021

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November 12, 2021

End Date

November 13, 2021

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William Rigoberto Mercado University of South Carolina Beaufort

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William Rigoberto Mercado is an undergraduate at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, completing a Bachelor's of Science in Computational Science. Having worked with The Children's Center, interests include understanding and identifying problems within different industries and learning the impacts of implementing modern solutions.

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Gabriela Maria Morales

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I am a senior at the University of South Carolina Beaufort where I studied computer science. I am a first generation student to study in the United States in my family. This summer I had the pleasure to work with a local boys and girls club early education facility where I discovered how important a cultural impact can have on a child's development.

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Ronald Erdei University of South Carolina Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Ronald Erdei is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. A graduate of Purdue University (PhD 2016), his research focuses primarily on reducing barriers to the learning process in college students. Topics of interest include computer science pedagogy, collaborative learning in college students, and human-centered design. Of particular interest are the development and application of instructional practices that provide benefits secondary to learning (i.e., in addition to learning), such as those that facilitate in learners increased self-efficacy, increased retention/graduation rate, increased matriculation into the workforce, and/or development of professional identity.

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This student report details our progress in providing technological assistance to a non-profit community partner whose mission is to continually improve the quality of education provided to children from birth through pre-kindergarten. Our community partner is The Children’s Center (TCC), a non-profit provider of early childhood education and childcare services [1] located in an affluent region of South Carolina. TCC’s purpose is to deliver quality early education and childcare services to the working family, providing services on a sliding tuition scale based on parental income [1]. TCC’s non-profit status presents a limited budget for information technology, and therefore certain processes that could otherwise be automated by expensive IT solutions must still be performed manually.

One such process is the generation of student progress reports, which follow the South Carolina Early Learning Standards (SC-ELS) [2]. These are state-imposed goals and developmental indicators used by early learning organizations to measure student growth. The SC-ELS indicators differ depending on the age periods of the children, from infants to older preschoolers. Further challenge is posed by language, as the diverse population served by TCC is approximately 50% English as a Second Language (ESL). Consequently, different report card formats are needed for each age group attending TCC, in both English and Spanish languages.

In response to this challenge, we developed, at no cost, a semi-automatic software tool that facilitates the process of generating report cards whose formats must be tailored to the different age groups and preferred languages served by TCC. The tool not only helps to expedite the generation of the report cards themselves, but it also enables the user to generate aggregate statistics about student performance. That is, it enables the user to analyze and interpret the data easier than the previous manual approaches that were time-consuming, error-prone and impractical.

Despite the current progress made, several sub-processes are still manually completed. Our ongoing efforts involve continual improvement of the tool through further process automation.

Works Cited: • [1] “The Children’s Center Website: About Us”, Accessed: September 3, 2021, [Online]. Available • [2] South Carolina Early Learning Standards 2017. South Carolina Early Learning Standards Interagency Stakeholder Group, “South Carolina Early Learning Standards”, 2017, [Online], Accessed: July 29, 2021. Available: 2017_Accessible-Version.pdf

Mercado, W. R., & Morales, G. M., & Erdei, R. (2021, November), [Work in Progress] Iterative development of an IT solution supporting Early Learning Standards Paper presented at 2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting, Virtually Hosted by the section.

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