Examining equity in an elementary school computer science intervention using component-based research

  • Kaitlyn Ferris Outlier Research & Evaluation, UChicago STEM Education at the University of Chicago
  • Jeanne Century
  • Huifang Zuo
Keywords: computer science, elementary, component-based research, equity, implementation research


This article reports on implementation of a problem-based learning intervention developed with the intention of finding time for computer science (CS) in the elementary school day. This study investigated differences in effects on students in particular socio-demographic groups using a quasi-experimental design. We first provide an overview of the perennial problem of group differences or “gaps” in student outcomes. Then we illustrate how, using component-based research (CBR), we moved beyond the question of whether the intervention worked, to focus on which parts of the intervention worked, for whom, and under what conditions. Using hierarchical linear modeling, this study draws from a sample of 16 elementary schools with 321 teachers and 5791 students in Broward County, Florida, the sixth largest school system in the United States. This study complements a previous paper (Authors, 2020), which examined associations between intervention components and student outcomes by investigating how outcomes differ for students in different socio-demographic groups and whether the presence of particular intervention components amplify or reduce differences. Through CBR, our work illustrates that CS interventions which may appear to benefit students overall, may be less beneficial or even detrimental to particular groups.


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How to Cite
Ferris, K., Century, J., & Zuo, H. (2021). Examining equity in an elementary school computer science intervention using component-based research. International Journal of Computer Science Education in Schools, 5(1), 16 - 34. https://doi.org/10.21585/ijcses.v5i1.121