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STEM+Computing Literacy

Reconceptualizing STEM + Computing Literacy is funded by the STEM+Computing Partnership (STEM+C) program, which seeks to advance multidisciplinary integration of computing and computational thinking in K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning through applied research and development across one or more domains, and broadening participation in computing and computing-related fields. The project will study the integration of computational thinking as part of a new and more contemporary perspective of STEM literacy, and will design, develop, and beta-test a prototype literacy assessment tool that will measure computational thinking literacy along with measures of literacy in other STEM content areas. The tool will be available to the general public as a self-measurement application (App) that can be used by individuals to test their own literacy, and by teachers, schools, and informal educators and organizations to assess literacy development in their students and in their STEM education programs.
This transdisciplinary research project will begin the process of creating an innovative approach and tool for measuring literacy that will expand the definition of literacy to include computational skills along with science reasoning. Literacy is an important concept and measurement that has traditionally been used to assess an individual's knowledge of science. This project will explore a broader literacy perspective that incorporates learning derived from out of school and one that incorporates computational skills and thinking as part of a more contemporary perspective of STEM literacy. A prototype web-based App allowing individuals and education organizations to assess literacy levels, and ways to enhance literacy, will be developed and studied. The methodology will be developed using discussions and knowledge from over 60 experts across computing, education, science, social science, and other STEM fields using a Delphi method to engage in reconceptualization of literacy. The hypothesis is that this new STEM+C literacy framework should be structured along four interacting but semi-independent domains: 1) general STEM+C knowledge; 2) self-defined areas of STEM+C knowledge and expertise; 3) attitudes and beliefs related to STEM+C; and 4) the skills and competencies necessary to participate in STEM+C related pursuits and discussions, including measures of modes of STEM+C thinking. Each of these four domains is likely to include numerous sub-domains and associated descriptors, which collectively describe the different aspects of being a STEM+C literate citizen. The application will be designed to provide feedback to individuals on their knowledge, attitudes and skills compared with those of others and suggest ways to enhance and improve their skills and understanding through an embedded feedback mechanism. This project creates public benefit by providing individuals and organizations with a responsive real-time understanding measuring STEM+C literacy, deepening the dialogue about the value of public engagement in science, engineering, technology, math and computing and revealing the dynamic factors that inform STEM+C literacy.