Understanding U.S. secondary computer science teachers' challenges and needs

SADIK O., Ottenbreit-Leftwich A. T.

COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION, vol.34, no.2, pp.252-284, 2024 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 34 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/08993408.2023.2209474
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aerospace Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, Computer & Applied Sciences, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Metadex, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.252-284
  • Keywords: Computer science education, secondary education, teachers' needs, pedagogy, student-centered, curriculum, COMPUTATIONAL THINKING, PROFESSIONAL-DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION, STUDENTS, TECHNOLOGY, MISCONCEPTIONS, PERCEPTIONS, PRINCIPALS, CURRICULUM, WORKING
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Background and ContextBased on issues arising around how to best prepare CS teachers and the constantly changing nature of the CS education content, curriculum, and instructional methods, it is crucial to examine the needs of secondary CS teachers.ObjectiveThe primary purpose of this study was to identify secondary computer science (CS) teachers' needs and make recommendations for future CS education research and practices in the U.S.MethodUsing a mixed-method research design, the data were collected from Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA)'s email listserv member discussions (n = 1,706 from 482 unique members), questionnaire responses from 222 secondary CS teachers, and semi-structured interviews with eight CS teachers in the US.FindingsUpdating curriculum resources was an important ongoing need for secondary CS teachers. Curriculum resources, materials to assess students learning, and embedding the principles of computational thinking into curriculum were reported as major needs for secondary teachers. Teachers also reported that they need to learn more about student-centered teaching strategies (e.g. problem-based learning and pair programming) and guide students' learning using scaffolding and team-management strategies. The findings suggest that teachers perceived the need for administrators', parents', and other CS teachers' support. Having an online community for teachers was critical to address their curricular and pedagogical needs. Furthermore, increasing student enrollment and interest in CS was critical for the future of CS education.ImplicationsThe findings of this research have implications for creating professional development plans and support that can address secondary CS teachers' needs in the US.