An estimated two-thirds of projected new STEM jobs are in computing. Yet high schools are ill-equipped to prepare students for these jobs. Further, women and students of color remain underrepresented in Advanced Placement computer science (CS) courses and CS careers. Work-based learning holds promise as a strategy to prepare students, including those from underrepresented groups, for the CS workforce. However, there is limited research to demonstrate its effectiveness.

EDC is partnering with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) to conduct an evaluation of RIDE’s Work-Based Learning for Computer Science initiative, which is working with 20 Rhode Island high schools that serve students from groups underrepresented in the STEM and CS workforce. The initiative will seek to increase enrollment in Advanced Placement CS courses and boost students’ interest in post-high school CS coursework and careers. Over three years, EDC evaluators will examine student engagement, performance on the Advanced Placement test, and student interest in pursuing a career in CS.

Key Activities

EDC is working closely with the RIDE leadership team to:

  • Conduct continuous improvement on RIDE/URI's Introduction to Computer Science and Work- Based Learning courses in 20 Rhode Island high schools
  • Study the impact of the initiative on students from 10 RI high schools in comparison to 10 matched high schools
  • Document the implementation of key components of the initiative’s model through a study that engages teachers, students, and work-based learning supervisors
  • Engage the RIDE leadership team in discussions to understand the initiative’s theory of change and logic model
  • Develop measures to describe the implementation of program components and key student outcomes

Learn More

U.S. Department of Education, Education Innovation and Research Program (EDC Direct Sponsor: Rhode Island Department of Education)