Complexities in Computer Science Teaching Attitudes and Beliefs: Findings of a Baseline Study of Elementary School Educators

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Conference Proceeding

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Teacher dispositions have strong empirical and theoretical ties to teacher motivation, professional choices, and classroom practices. The attitudes and beliefs of teachers can mediate students' access to and experience with computer science (CS) instruction. This paper presents a baseline study to illuminate initial characteristics, beliefs, and experiences with CS of an elementary school teaching population in multiple districts across two states. As part of their onboarding to a large CS outreach project, U.S. teachers (N = 791) from partnering elementary schools (N = 28) completed the T-ABC, a survey instrument designed to measure teachers' beliefs about CS education, growth-mindset and self-efficacy. Prior CS professional development experiences were associated with statistically significant differences in the CS Beliefs and Self-Efficacy dimensions of the T-ABC. We present and discuss an additional principal component analysis producing a seven factor model, with psychometric overview of factor extraction and loading. Further we begin to define emergent factors such as teacher determination, teacher fear, and epistemologically confused positivity from this analysis. Identification and measurement of teacher dispositions enables further analysis of how teacher beliefs may support or hinder effective practice in CS instruction, how teacher populations may differ, and how identified dispositions may change with exposure to various CS learning experiences.


The 54th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education Toronto, Canada, March 15-18, 2023.

Christine Thorp is a graduate student in the College of Education at Sacred Heart University and the graduate research assistant for Project Future.