2020 Survey of Computer Science Teaching

Pedagogical Practices in the U.S.

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What is really happening in Computer Science classrooms today?

Research surrounding various pedagogical practices is ample, but that does not necessarily mean educators adopt these evidence-based approaches. We surveyed over 100 computer science educators to find out why.

Our 2020 survey asked what practices computing educators were familiar with, which practices they have previously adopted and which they were considering adopting. Specifically, we aimed to answer the following research questions:

  • What evidence-based pedagogical approaches/ technologies are most well-known by CS educators?
  • Which evidence-based pedagogical approaches/ technologies are most commonly implemented by CS educators?
  • What types of benefits motivate CS educators to try new pedagogical approaches/technologies?
  • What types of challenges de-motivate CS educators to try new pedagogical approaches/technologies?

A trend noticed throughout the survey results indicates that educators are likely to adopt a new pedagogical practice that they believe will directly improve student learning outcomes. Across the 20 pedagogical practices included in our survey, the most beneficial outcomes educators cited included:

  • Improved student understanding of content
  • Increased student engagement and/or interest
  • Increased student participation in class
In a similar vein, we found that the biggest fear, or perceived challenge, in introducing a new pedagogical approach is that students will not like it. This suggests that educators are less concerned with their own benefits (e.g., time savings) than student benefits (e.g., increased understanding) when choosing whether to adopt new practices.
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