Quantitative data about spatial thinking skills, computational thinking abilities, and mathematical performance was acquired with assessments tailored to ranges of grade levels.
The spatial thinking assessments administered by the research team, teachers, and parent volunteers measured skills such as mental rotation of objects, perspective taking, using coordinate systems, making maps, understanding maps, and way finding. The computational thinking assessment piloted for the K-2 grades and administered by teachers and parent volunteers measured students' ability to apply algorithms, debug errors, and recognize patterns. Standardized assessments administered by the schools provided measurements of students' mathematical performance.
The Center for Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness at California State University Long Beach (CEEE) acquired qualitative data through focus groups conducted with teachers at the beginning and end of the 2016-2017 school year.
Information sought from teachers included feedback on the spatial thinking activities, spatial thinking assessments, and computational thinking assessments administered by the project, and the teachers’ perceived outcomes for spatial, computational, and mathematics abilities.
CEEE worked with the project leaders to develop focus group questions and a protocol for conducting the meetings with the experimental group teachers. Four graduate students facilitated the focus groups and gathered data via notes, observation, and audio recordings.