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Friday, November 9, 2018

COE Faculty, Colleagues Awarded $300K for Research on Computer Science Education

Dr. Sasha Chizhik

Dr. Alexander “Sasha” Chizhik, working with Dr. Leland Beck and Patricia Kraft from the SDSU’s Computer Science Department, has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to assess whether students in introductory computer science courses will be successful in subsequent computer science classes. This latest grant is the third for Chizhik and Beck and the first for Kraft.

“Receiving [this grant] on improving undergraduate computer-science education helps us develop curriculum and pedagogy that supports the diverse needs of students from multiple backgrounds who are interested in pursuing computer science as a career,” said Chizhik, a faculty in the School of Teacher Education.

The NSF awards funds for research and education in science and engineering, particularly through grants and contracts. According to NSF, its funding accounts for about 20 percent of federal support to academic institutions for basic research.

Beck, Chizhik, and Kraft will use the nearly $300K on their research "Assessing Student Learning in CS1: Predictors of Success in Subsequent Courses." The research, Chizhik said, will focus on valid inferences that can be drawn from various types of assessment items. “In particular, we are interested in seeing how performance on particular types of assessment items in introductory courses translates into performance in subsequent computer-science courses,” said Chizhik, who has been teaching at SDSU since 2000 and last academic year served as interim director of COE’s School of Teacher Education. “Answers from this research can help computer-science educators make quality pedagogical decisions based on valid inferences from assessment results.”

SDSU President Adela de la Torre congratulated all three faculty for their research and for contributing to advancing the university in its endeavor to become a top-tier research institution.

“Thank you for moving SDSU forward as a major public research university and for bringing national distinction to the departments of computer science and teacher education, to the Colleges of Education and Sciences, and to the university,” de la Torre said in her letter to the faculty.