Using Data to Improve Computer Science Education

At Code.org, we value the power of data to drive change. To scale our mission to give every student the opportunity to learn computer science, we partner with dozens of local organizations across the US, which collectively form our regional partner network. These organizations have the regional knowledge and the school connections that enable them to more effectively work in their local area to expand access and opportunity in computer science.

To empower our regional partner organizations to identify where they should concentrate their efforts and to track the progress within their regions, we’ve rolled out a new data dashboard for them, powered by Tableau.

Through this dashboard, our regional partners can now better track the impact of the professional learning program that they’re running locally. The dashboard reports how many of the teachers from their professional learning workshops are teaching our courses, as well as the demographic diversity of the students, based on activity in the Code.org platform.

By providing this data transparency to our regional partners, we empower them to drive changes to help further our mission to increase access to computer science and diversity of students in the subject. This data can also help regional partners with their funding efforts as it becomes easier to visualize and report their local success and impact.

In addition to tracking their program’s overall impact on the students of their region, the dashboard allows regional partners to track the health of their professional learning program by reporting classroom implementation and retention among teachers who have attended their workshops. This dashboard can identify if teachers have not started teaching, or if they have been unable to complete the course, enabling partners to help out if necessary.

Lastly, this dashboard will help our regional partners with recruiting schools to expand access to computer science. Encouraging districts, schools, and teachers to teach computer science is a major responsibility of these organizations. To aid these conversations, we provide anonymized and aggregated data about the Code.org activity in each partner’s region. This allows regional partners to identify schools and districts that already have some grassroots enthusiasm and activity with computer science, assisting in district-level discussions.

Sharing data while completely protecting privacy

Data privacy is critically important to all of us, so we took a lot of care in how any data is shared with partners. First and foremost, no data about individual students is shared via this dashboard. The only teacher-level data provided to a given regional partner is for teachers who have enrolled in the professional learning program run by that partner. These teachers provide prior consent to share this data, and the partners who receive teacher-level data from Code.org contractually agree to treat it confidentially per the Code.org privacy principles. All other classroom data that we share with these partners is aggregated and anonymized at the school level — no teacher-identifying information is shared. For more information, learn about the Code.org privacy principles, including our innovative approach to protecting student email addresses.

We are thrilled to work with so many passionate partner organizations who support our shared mission of expanding access and diversity in computer science. We depend on their efforts to bring opportunities to all students to learn computer science and know that they have a big hand in the momentum that we see across the U.S. We hope that by providing this data dashboard, we can empower them even more, helping us bring the opportunity to learn computer science to every student in every school.

Marina Taylor, Director of Product — Code.org

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