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ERIC Number: EJ1214794
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Jun
Pages: 35
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1042-1629
What They Learn When They Learn Coding: Investigating Cognitive Domains and Computer Programming Knowledge in Young Children
Strawhacker, Amanda; Bers, Marina Umaschi
Educational Technology Research and Development, v67 n3 p541-575 Jun 2019
Computer programming for young children has grown in popularity among both educators and product developers, but still relatively little is known about what skills children are developing when they code. This study investigated N = 57 Kindergarten through second grade children's performance on a programming assessment after engaging in a 6-week curricular intervention. Children used the ScratchJr programming tool to create animated stories, collages, and games. At the end of the learning intervention, children were assessed on their knowledge of the ScratchJr language and underlying reasoning. Specifically, we explored children's errors on the assessment to determine evidence of domain-specific reasoning (e.g. mathematic, verbal, causal). Results show that while all students mastered foundational coding concepts, there were marked differences in performance and comprehension across the three grade levels. Interpretation of results suggests a developmental progression inherent in programming knowledge acquisition. Implications for computer programming education and developmental research are discussed.
Springer. Available from: Springer Nature. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education; Kindergarten; Primary Education; Grade 1; Grade 2
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL1118664