CE21 is all about evaluation

February 15, 2011 at 10:44 am 2 comments

NSF’s budget request to Congress is now out, and what it tells us about how CISE thinks about CE21 has a somewhat different emphasis than in the call for proposals which is more flexible about evaluation (e.g., “Different methods of research and/or evaluation are appropriate.”)

Evaluation is a vital part of CISE’s STEM education programs such as Computing Education for the 21st Century (CE21) which is a partnership with EHR and OCI. Each CE21 award will provide a rigorous research and/or evaluation plan designed to guide project progress and measure its impact; the plan will also include a description of the instruments/metrics that will be used. The overall CISE education portfolio will be assessed with an appropriately rigorous evaluation process.

Within the CNS Division, there’s a clear focus on BPC:

CNS supports the Computing Education for the 21st Century (CE21) program that seeks to increase computational competencies for all students, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, disability status, or socioeconomic status, and regardless, too, of eventual career choices.

Just some interesting clues as to what the upper levels of NSF administration are going to be looking for from CE21.


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. John Pane  |  February 15, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Hi Mark,

    I’m glad to see this emphasis on rigorous evaluation. It’s what I’ve been doing lately in other domains, and would welcome opportunities to do the same in CE.


  • 2. Pierre Bierre  |  February 20, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I welcome more attention to evaluation and learning metrics, but only if existing curricula are not “grandfathered” out of the process.

    All learning experiences should spring forth from some sense of the desired impact. The impact on each student should be assessed. Then, the course may be judged for its effectiveness.

    People who believe in this methodology should also see the retrograde effect on education to only apply it to NEW courses and content. Established courseware deserves to be re-evaluted for continued relevance and effectiveness over time, as it is certain that “what is important to know” is not going to stand still in the 21st century. If the established courses are not held up to a standard of effective impact on human development, then they will gradually slide into obsolescence, modernized alternatives will be put at a disadvantage in terms of hoops to jump through.

    Impact and effectiveness want to be defined in terms of “showing up prepared for the future”, not short-term surrogates like test scores which can be manipulated. The “assessment movement” still has a lot of growing up to do in this regard.

    I’ll start to take “primacy of evaluation” seriously when the existing standard public school courses are subjected to the same methodology NSF wants to impose on new courses:
    – Why does the course exist (intended impact and benefits)?
    – How well is each student being impacted?
    – By inference, how well is the course performing at its stated impact?


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