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September 2021

Published by the RPP for CS Organization, funded by CSforAll, as part of the RPP Spotlight Series.

The problem of practice that inspired the grant (funded in 2018) was the persistent underrepresentation and disparities in participation and performance of students from traditionally underrepresented populations in computer science education. While the project team continued hard work to better understand all facets of this issue and the central project goal remained the same, the work in 2020 shifted more towards engaging all students in remote computer science education as a response to the pandemic. The project operated on the idea that supporting the capacity of teachers through professional learning including participation in a research practice partnership (RPP) would enable them to better meet the needs of their diverse student bodies and ultimately address issues of equity, access, and rigor in computer science education.

Additionally, the project team understood that in order to enact consistent and sustainable change, school and district administrators must be at the table with teachers in order to understand and support the teachers and also to think about potential supports beyond an individual classroom.

You may download this publication here.

July 2021

Created as part of the Research Brief Series from the Center for Effective School Practices.

A relatively new practice in education, Response to Intervention (RTI) is a means to evaluate students’ educational and behavioral needs, identify students needing supports beyond core instruction, and determine students’ eligibility for special education services. It operates in a tiered framework as a system of supports that aims to promote early identification, monitor student progress, and provide supplemental supports and services necessary for all students to succeed in school.

Figure 1

This brief highlights best-practices that have been identified through educational research as key contributors to success.

You may download a complimentary copy of this publication here.

May 2021
David Amiel & Cynthia Blitz

Experience report presented at The Annual Conference on Research in Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology (RESPECT) 2021.

This paper details our experience in planning and implementing our annual Summer Institute that provides educators with professional learning and strategic planning surrounding issues of equity and rigor in computer science education. We explore the ways our Institute was modified to a virtual experience and key takeaways that are relevant and replicable to the research and practitioner communities.

Picture of Paper

You may view this publication online here.

March 2021
N. Martin, E. Legleiter, C. Blitz, R. Smith, & M. Kendrick

Whitepaper published through the 100k in 10 Grand Challenges Initiative.

This whitepaper explores the results of a national survey of school teachers and administrators in relation to providing and receiving professional learning in rural school districts. Ideas are explored along the axes of decision-making in professional learning, the job-embedded nature of professional learning, quality, and school culture.

Job-Embedded Professional Development Programs for Rural Schools

You may view this publication online here.

March 2021
Dr. Cynthia Blitz, Ph. D, Vivian Allen, & David Amiel

Presented at SIGCSE '21: The 52nd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education.

This presentation highlights strategies for improving recruitment and engagement of under-represented students into high school computer science classes. Operating within the collaborative structure of a researcher-practitioner partnership, the CS diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies were conceived by members of the Rutgers Computer Science Teaching & Learning Collaboratory (CS-TLC), an NSF-funded RPP specifically established to build the capacity of schools to provide rigorous, inclusive CS education. Through an audit and reflection on current practice coupled with a synthesis of major findings from the education literature, CS-TLC formulated a three-pronged strategy to address equitable student recruitment - (i) tailoring communication and outreach activities, (ii) revisiting and updating relevant institutional practices or policies that directly or indirectly impact recruitment and engagement, and (iii) enhancing existing instructional practices. The presentation will preview each of these approaches, share preliminary qualitative evidence regarding their efficacy, and highlight the benefits of working within an RPP to conduct such work.

Recruiting Diverse Learners to High School Computer Science

You can the publication online here, or download a copy of the poster here.

June 2020
Dr. Itzhak Yanovitzky, Ph.D. and Dr. Cynthia Blitz, Ph.D.

Published in Extra from the National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships.

Evidence-informed policy and practice is often touted as a gold-standard in both scientific and popular discourse. For many people, the idea that decisions made by policymakers and practitioners should be guided by the best available science, whether to improve STEM education in schools or fight a global pandemic, is immediately intuitive. It is therefore only natural for producers and funders of scientific research, as well as for research intermediaries such as NNERPP, to explore diverse venues for connecting policymakers and practitioners with the most rigorous and relevant research evidence that is applicable to problems they confront. Often, a primary focus of such efforts is the efficient translation and dissemination of useful research evidence. However, with the recognition that users themselves play an active role in acquiring and interpreting research evidence, there is a growing interest in implementing effective user engagement strategies.

You view this publication online here.

June 2020
Dr. Cynthia Blitz, Ph. D, Vivian Allen, & David Amiel

Presented at the 2019 Pennsylvania Computer Science for All Summit.

How may a collaboration between researchers and K12 education practitioners improve engagement with computer science education for all learners? How do you make this partnership work? The Computer Science Teaching and Learning Collaboratory (CS-TLC) is a researcher-practitioner partnership (RPP) among school districts, schools, administrators, and teachers along with Rutgers University’s Center for Effective School Practices (RU-CESP) and Department of Computer Science (RU-CS). CS-TLC members collaborate to design, adapt, and implement professional learning opportunities; curate and organize resources and tools, and address district-wide processes, procedures, and organizational routines in order to deliver equity-driven, culturally-sensitive, rigorous, and engaging CS education to all students. This session presented the experiences, successes, and lessons learned from the CS-TLC and explain the impact of the project.

June 2020
Dr. Cynthia Blitz, Ph. D, Vivian Allen, & David Amiel

Presented at the 2019 Pennsylvania Computer Science for All Summit.

This session served a discussion of practical strategies and techniques for recruiting underrepresented students into computer science while improving inclusivity and equity within CS classrooms. The session featured lessons and examples from an existing NSF CSforAll funded researcher practitioner partnership (RPP). Strategies addressed included targeted communication, outreach efforts, school community engagement, leveraging teacher-teacher collaborations, collaborative learning structures, and more. Emphasis was placed on sharing practical implementation plans and best practices.

May 2020
Dr. Cynthia Blitz, Ph. D

Presented in the 2020 STEM for All Video Showcase "Learning from Research and Practice."

The goal of the Computer Science Teaching and Learning Collaboratory (CS-TLC) is to broaden the participation of historically underrepresented student populations in CS. The CS-TLC is a researcher-practitioner partnership between around 20 districts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Rutgers University’s Center for Effective School Practices, and Rutgers’ Department of Computer Science. This video highlighted some of the major activities of the CS-TLC during this past year, including a 5-day Summer Institute on rigorous and equitable practices in CS education, community outreach and engagement efforts, school events, and more!

March 2020
Dr. Cynthia Blitz, Ph. D & David Amiel

Published in the Computer Science Newsletter, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

Persistent inequities in computer science education have long plagued the educational community. As schools struggle to recruit and retain diverse learners into computer science classes at the K-12 level, we see these disparities reflected in the computing workforce. This article explored the background and methodology of the Computer Science Teaching & Learning Collaboratory, an NSF-Funded Researcher Practitioner Partnership as well as preliminary findings and actionable advice for the computer science education community. .

You can view this publication online here.