Digital Promise’s Equity in the Driver’s Seat

Writing for Digital Promise, Babe Liberman and Viki Young, Ph.D., explore a practice-driven, equity-centered approach for setting R&D agendas in education. The project invited teachers to collaborate with researchers, funders, and education leaders to develop these equity-focused agendas. 

The report presents illustrative examples of R&D agendas based on the driving questions that district partners raised during the convening, focusing specifically on Adolescent Literacy and Computational Thinking. Driving questions emerging from the collaboration are outlined below:

Adolescent Reading 

Driving Questions Arising from District Challenges 

• How do diverse texts change student experiences in reading? 

• What are the implications for teachers using diverse texts in middle school ELA classes? 

Adolescent Writing

Driving Questions Arising from District Challenges

• How do students develop their identity as writers and improve as writers?

• What supports do teachers need to help their students develop as writers?

Access to Computational Thinking

Opportunities Driving Questions Arising from District Challenges 

• How can schools increase student enrollment of underrepresented groups (e.g., girls, Black/Latinx students, and English learners) in high school elective computer science (CS) courses and other courses that integrate computational thinking (CT) competencies? 

• What are the implications of integrating CT across subject areas in grades K-8 (providing exposure to all students) for student learning and persistence? How does assessment work when CT is integrated into other subjects? Can gains in CT be effectively measured apart from the particular subject (i.e., math, science, ELA) in which it is being incorporated? 

• Beyond equitable exposure to CS courses and CT integration, how can school systems embed equity considerations into the design of curricula, pedagogies, and professional learning for CS courses and CT integration? 

CT Assessment 

Driving Questions Arising from District Challenges 

• How can we assess students’ understanding of and engagement with CT? 

• How can we assess the equity of CT programs to ensure specific needs of students from marginalized backgrounds are being met? 

• How can we increase awareness in students, families, and community members of CS as a course of study, CT as core competencies, and their value as a career pathway?

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