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measuring impact of Scratch: what tools?

« Researching Scratch
5 replies [Last post]
Karen Randall

OK, researchers, I am looking for your help in figuring out a way to assess how using Scratch affects the creativity and thinking of my students.

I am teaching at a new school this year as a K-6 "enrichment specialist." The school's population is high-poverty (97%)-low-test-scoring and most of the day for students focuses on reading and math instruction.  I've been hired to combine science, art, and technology in a class that takes place during the regular teacher's prep time, rotating with 4 other prep teachers through the year.  I'll see some grades 14 times over the year, and others about 45 times.  The overall goal is to promote deeper thinking, creativity, and inquiry, and Scratch will be a big help!

I would like to find a way to assess where the kids are now and see what impact the class has had at the end of the year.  I can make rubrics for Scratch projects or track changes in a few kids' approaches.  I am curious, though, whether there is any sort of measurement instrument or accepted practice out there that addresses overall problem solving or creativity.  Several of you have written about your research projects and I wonder whether you found a way to quantify data for a whole class or school of kids, one that would also be practical for a teacher to administer.  Obervational data would be hard to collect because I'm in the moment teaching.

Suggestions are appreciated.


Christina Ní Dheaghaidh

I have just completed a small qualitative research study with a class of 10 - 11 year olds in an Irish primary school, focusing on Scratch and Higher Order Thinking. I found "Computers as Mindtools for Schools: Engaging Critical Thinking" By D Jonassen (Pub. Merrill, 2000) very useful as a freamework for measuring thinking skills.

Amanda Ford

Hopefully soon I will have some form of measuring impact of scratch.  So far I have measured the affective impact of Scratch in Class ( which has been very positive and happy so far).  I am now looking also to measure the learning impact of scratch. I did try before in my honours project (my paper is in the resources section and there will be another paper soon) this was measured against standards in an ICT test given within the UK.  I am now focusing on the new curriculum in Scotland and how using Scratch to make games with children affects learning.

John McInerney

>> any sort of measurement instrument or accepted practice out there that addresses overall problem solving or creativity. <<


I'm in a vaguely similar situation (in my case, as a gifted/enrichment K-2 teacher for 4 buildings). The assessment thing has dogged me for 3 years. There's no question that the kids benefit but how much and in what ways. If, say, the superintendent wanted me to justify my salarly with some hard numbers, I'd be caught flat footed.

Without going into too much detail, there simply is no shorthand way to measure problem solving or creative thinking and get some nice, chartable numbers that show growth over time.

Rubrics ARE a good though labor intensive way. There's a nice article worth reading with some positive research on the reliability and validity of a creativity rubric at

It seems to me to have a possibility to look as some other, indirect measures that I don't have access to. You said that some kids you see 14 times and others 45 times. So you have groups of kids with well defined amounts of time with you. COULD look at attendance rates, discipline referals, overall grades, etc of these two different groups of kids and maybe make some valid points about the benefits of being with you more versus less. It wouldn't necessarily give you information about thinking and creativity skills but it could show patterns of positive reponses that indirectly show these skills.


Rebecca Martinez

Well I didn't think that others were thinking as I was about scratch and how to measure the thinking of their students. I was just recently intorduced to the program and feel that it is a great program to teach students how think and problem solve.  I currenly work at an "at-risk" high school and feel that by using scratch it would open up the minds of my students, but I too am stumped on how to analyze their thought process through the program.  I think I am just going to have them work on a simple project with a partner and write a reflection on their experience and from those papers I will see what comes up. 


Jon Bustillo

Dear Karen,

I'm in the same point ....  I'm trying to develop some rubrics for measuring the Scratch influence... and It's not easy. Since you wrote this post have you had any answers?

We are thinking about to create two rubrics to measure what influence has Scratch in the innovative thinking of the learners.

  • To analyse the questions made for students (only when they are Scratching) in class
  • To analyse the projects made by the students

Are you still working around this subject? I'm very interested on it.


P.D.: Excuse me for my English... I'm a eternal learner ;-)