Increasing Participation and Achievement in AP Computer Science Principles   

Computer science has become the fastest-growing subject in the US; however, English-language learners are significantly underrepresented in these courses. Research indicates that English learners perform better both linguistically and academically when exposed to rigorous academic content. The Computer Science for English Learners (CSforEL) project, a four-year initiative funded by the US Department of Education, aims to attract, retain, and engage English learners in AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) across Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Southern California (San Diego, Imperial, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange counties). 

CSforEL has successfully launched a pilot group (2020), Cohort A (2021), and Cohort B (2022). Cohort C, the final group in this project phase, is scheduled to begin their first year in June 2023.

Here’s what a few former computer science teachers shared regarding their experiences with CSforEL:

I think this is some of the best training I have received on helping English-language learners. I love the workbook. I love the strategies. I love the practice and feedback and the ability to see how other teachers use the strategies.

Super useful. The resources are easy to implement into my lessons.

I’ve been really enjoying it, and I can see the improvement every lesson cycle. I get so much out of talking with other CS teachers.

It’s been super informative and hands-on. I’ve been part of a lot of PD and facilitated lots of PD. With an online PD, I was surprised by how it’s been hands-on, relevant, helpful, and rich.

I am more deliberate with my planning to address language use and practice. My planning takes longer and my lessons do as well, but I think both are more effective in supporting students in their language practice.

Benefits for Participating Districts

Participating districts and schools will receive:

  • Increased enrollment of English learners in AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP)
  • Increased number of qualifying scores by English learners in AP CSP
  • Professional development over the summer and throughout the school year for treatment teachers, allowing them to better recruit, retain, and engage English learners in computer science 
  • Professional development to understand current access to CS courses for EL students and to combat barriers to course placement with the School Leadership Network (SLN) throughout the school year for at least one principal and counselor per participating school

Benefits for Teachers

Participating AP CSP teachers will receive:

  • Professional development with the School Leadership Network (SLN) for a guided review of course placement to understand current access to CS courses for English learners and to combat barriers involved to course enrollment for those students
  • Professional development during the summer and throughout the year (stipends are included for treatment teachers), which will enable teachers to provide rigor and engagement for English learners in AP CSP
  • Professional development sessions during the summer and year-round that will provide treatment teachers with effective strategies for promoting rigor and engagement among English learners in AP CSP. Stipends are included for participation
  • Access to state-of-the-art resources and expert guidance for supporting English learners in AP CSP

Partnering Districts and Teacher Commitments

For this project to be successful, we ask that participating districts and teachers commit to:   

  • Participating in the CS Course Placement Review, with engagement from the district and school leadership  
  • Ensuring that all participating teachers have at least one section of AP CSP, deliberately scheduled to ensure possible participation by EL students  
  • Ensuring participating teachers, principals, and counselors attend all professional development 
  • Participating in program evaluation

Program Evaluation Details

  • Participate in teacher interviews, teacher surveys, and AP CSP classroom observation student focus groups
  • Ensure AP CSP is offered at the treatment and control schools for the two-year implementation period
  • Provide data needed to evaluate the impact of the program annually.      

For more information, contact Larae Butcher, CSforEL Project Manager