ScratchJr: A Coding Language for Kindergarten

Computer programming for young children has grown in popularity among both education researchers and product developers, but still relatively little is known about how to assess and track young children’s learning through coding. This study presents an assessment tool to track Kindergarten through second grade students’ learning after engaging in a programming curriculum. Researchers worked with N=57 Kindergarten through second grade students over seven weeks to implement a curriculum using ScratchJr to introduce concepts of sequencing to create animated stories, collages, and games. At the end of the learning intervention, students were assessed on their knowledge of the ScratchJr programming language and underlying programming concepts. Results show that while all students mastered foundational coding concepts, there were marked differences in performance and comprehension across the three grade levels. Implications for computer programming education in the context of age-graded early childhood cognitive development are discussed.

Strawhacker, A., Lee, M. S. C., Caine, C., & Bers, M. U. (Under Review). ScratchJr: A coding language for Kindergarten. In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '15). ACM, Boston, MA, USA.