NSF Broadening Participation in Computer Science

The Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of an AP Computer Science Preparatory Sequence for Underrepresented High School Students

mixed gender group on laptopLPFI, with a grant from the National Science Foundation Computing Education for the 21st Century (CE21) program is working to increase access to and success in computer science education for underrepresented youth of color. This grant enables LPFI to continue developing the computer science course sequence within SMASH and by providing a three-summer and one-year sequence of computer science courses for students and professional development for instructors. The goal of this grant is to prepare 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 also provides 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.

SMASH Computer Science Curriculum

The SMASH computer science curriculum is designed to be a rigorous introduction to various skills and languages in modern digital literacy and programming.  The course sequence starts with CS 1, where students focus on develop the root problem solving skills and foundations to computational thinking that they will then later apply in the more advanced courses the following years.  The second course in the sequence, CS 2, is set up to be a deep dive into introductory Java programming. This course is designed to set students up to be on a direct path towards high performance on the AP Computer Science A exam.  Lastly, the CS 3 course exposes student the the increasingly important fields of Data Science and App Development.  Through this course sequence students will be developing, modifying and analyzing software using a design learning framework and a focus on collaboration.

Students will:

1) Contribute to the solution space to empower communities as a responsible digital citizen.

2) Develop skills to become a thought leader for innovation in industry.

3) Apply, horizontally across disciplines, skills in computational thinking and problem solving.

4) Develop initial content mastery in order to set up for deeper study and integration (vertical). Design, compile and run programs in various languages.

5) Be prepared as a self directed learner to engage with online material in CS and the AP CS exam.

SMASH Curriculum Overview 2015

NSF SMASH: Activities & Outcomes

Advisory Board

nsfbadge_200x200JPEGThis material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under CE21 Grant Number 1339424. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.