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IES Grant

Title: Evaluation of Lane ESD's Coder-in-Residence Program
Center: NCER Year: 2018
Principal Investigator: Strand Cary, Mari Awardee: Lane Educational Service District
Program: Low-Cost, Short-Duration Evaluation of Education Interventions      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (07/16/2018 07/15/2020) Award Amount: $249,922
Type: Efficacy Award Number: R305L180016

Co-Principal Investigators: Larwick, Heidi; Kennedy, Patrick C.

Partner Institution: The University of Oregon’s Center on Teaching and Learning (UO-CTL)

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to investigate the effects of an intervention focused on technology instruction on students' proximal and distal knowledge, perceptions, engagement and academic performance related to STEM disciplines and, secondarily, teachers' and computer coders' perceptions and confidence related to coding and teaching.

Project Activities: The evaluation team at University of Oregon will direct the project, conduct random assignment of schools to condition, merge and analyze intervention outcome and other administrative data, and lead the team in disseminating project findings to educators, administrators, and other stakeholders locally and nationally. The school district team members will ensure participant compliance with project design and requirements, query administrative databases, validate program-specific and administrative data, provide those data to the team at UO, and assist with analyses.

Products: The evaluation team will present the results of the study at meetings with Lane ESD personnel during Year 2 of the project. They will also disseminate the results through Oregon's practitioner networks, practitioner and academic conferences, and peer-reviewed journals.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This evaluation will take place in elementary schools in six urban and semi-urban districts within the Lane Educational Service District in Lane County, Oregon.

Population/Sample: Participants include 4th and 5th grade students attending schools in economically and racially diverse communities in Lane County, Oregon. Across three cohorts, approximately 3,000 students, 120 classroom teachers, and 30 industry representatives (two coders in residence for every treatment school) will participate.

Intervention: The Lane ESD Coder-in-Residence program (CIR) is a 5-week hands-on curriculum team-taught by teachers and coders. Lessons emphasize computational thinking, experimentation, control of internet-connected devices (i.e., Gigabots), STEM career opportunities, and the idea of creating, rather than simply consuming, technology. The CIR curriculum focuses on the characteristics of robots and the logical structure of code.

Research Design and Methods: The team uses a randomized control trial to compare the outcomes of participating in two conditions: 8 coding and robotics lessons during the school day over a 5-week period and a business-as-usual condition. Researchers will randomize schools to condition and all students in participating classrooms will be invited to participate. Researchers will collect pre/post program-specific measures and district administrative data for the primary analyses.

Control Condition: Students in control schools will engage in business-as-usual instruction for technology lessons.

Key Measures: The researchers will collect program-specific student and educator surveys and student assessments to address research questions regarding proximal outcomes. The researchers will examine grades, attendance data, and standardized test scores to evaluate research questions about distal outcomes. Exit tickets and lesson logs will provide data regarding implementation and student engagement. Researchers will also use student and educator demographic data will in moderation analyses and to analyze CIR effects in different contexts and student groups.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will test effects of the CIR program on student outcomes using a mixed-model analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to account for the nesting of students in classrooms and schools. They will similarly analyze educator effects. Researchers will extend the primary ANCOVA to include a covariate and its interaction with condition to evaluate tests of whether various student, educator, and contextual characteristics moderate the relationship between CIR participation and outcomes The design will have sufficient power to detect standardized effects as small as .28 under a number of conservative assumptions.