1st Edition

Assessing Computational Thinking An Overview of the Field

    This book presents different approaches for answering the question: How do we assess computational thinking? The result is a snapshot of the current state of the field for assessing computational thinking.

    The last decade has seen rapid growth in the presence of computational thinking (CT) in educational contexts. Those working to advance CT argue that the concepts and skills associated with CT are essential to succeed in an increasingly computational world. As a result of these efforts, there has been tremendous growth in curricula, learning environments, and innovations around CT education in K-12 classrooms and beyond. As CT grows in prominence, so too does the need to be able to effectively and equitably assess learners CT abilities. This volume is a collection of chapters pursuing different approaches for answering the question: How do we assess computational thinking? The answers provided span age ranges, formal and informal contexts, conceptual aspects of CT, and varying methodological and evaluative strategies. Collectively, the volume captures the current state of the field for assessing computational thinking and lays the groundwork for future CT assessment innovation.

    Assessing Computational Thinking will be a key resource for academics, researchers, and advanced students of Education, Educational Assessment, Educational Research, Psychology and Research Methods. The chapters included in this book were originally published as a special issue of Computer Science Education.

    Introduction—Assessing computational thinking: an overview of the field

    David Weintrop, Daisy Wise Rutstein, Marie Bienkowski and Steven McGee

    1. Developing a kindergarten computational thinking assessment using evidence-centered design: the case of algorithmic thinking

    Jody Clarke-Midura, Deborah Silvis, Jessica F. Shumway, Victor R. Lee and Joseph S. Kozlowski

    2. Design and validation of learning trajectory-based assessments for computational thinking in upper elementary grades

    Brian D. Gane, Maya Israel, Noor Elagha, Wei Yan, Feiya Luo and James W. Pellegrino

    3. A principled approach to designing computational thinking concepts and practices

    assessments for upper elementary grades

    Satabdi Basu, Daisy W. Rutstein, Yuning Xu, Haiwen Wang and Linda Shear

    4. Assessing computational thinking through the lenses of functionality and computational


    Shari J. Metcalf, Joseph M. Reilly, Soobin Jeon, Annie Wang, Allyson Pyers, Karen Brennan and Chris Dede

    5. Communicating about computational thinking: understanding affordances of portfolios for assessing high school students’ computational thinking and participation practices

    Deborah Fields, Debora Lui, Yasmin Kafai, Gayithri Jayathirtha, Justice Walker and Mia Shaw

    6. How do students develop computational thinking? Assessing early programmers in a maze-based online game

    Mariluz Guenaga, Andoni Eguíluz, Pablo Garaizar and Juanjo Gibaja

    7. Assessing computational thinking in libraries

    David Weintrop, Shandra Morehouse and Mega Subramaniam


    David Weintrop is Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland.

    Daisy Rutstein is Principal Education Researcher at SRI International.

    Marie Bienkowski is Director of STEM Curriculum at the Academies of Math and Science.

    Steven McGee is President of The Learning Partnership.