Level Playing Field Institute Awarded $500K Grant from National Science Foundation


The Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI) has been awarded a grant of $528,161 from the National Science Foundation Computing Education for the 21st Century (CE21) program to increase access to and success in computer science education for underrepresented youth of color.

The project, entitled “Broadening Participation: The Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of an AP Computer Science Preparatory Sequence for Underrepresented High School Students” will be implemented over the next three years.

This grant will enable LPFI to further develop the computer science course sequence within the SMASH Academy, ultimately providing a three-summer and one-academic year sequence of computer science courses for students and professional development for instructors, with the  ultimate goal of preparing students to take and pass the AP Computer Science A (and AP Computer Science Principles) course.

This project aims to directly impact student engagement, interest, and computer science aspirations, and significantly increase the number of high school students of color in California taking computer science courses and taking and passing the AP Computer Science exams. This project will also provide a scalable model for replication of computer science pathways to college among underrepresented high school students of color in out-of-school settings, to greatly expand the number of African American and Latino students within the computer science pipeline.

“Our ultimate goal is to design and study the effectiveness of a model for engaging underrepresented high school students in computer science within out-of-school settings that can be replicated across the country,” said LPFI Executive Director Jarvis Sulcer, Ph.D. “It is our hope that this project will impact practice and policy and increase access and opportunity within computer science.”

This is LPFI’s first NSF grant.

A link to the award can be found here.