Skip to Content

Integrating Scratch Programming as a Tool for Assessment in K-12 Curriculum

This PowerPoint presentation was presented at the 2010 MIT Scratch Conference. It reviews the results of a pilot study on how to infuse technology into a secondary science and math curriculum.
Other Files: 
Leslie Daniels

Hi Vicki,

I only recently noticed your comment in response to our presentation at the last Scratch conference. Thought I would take a moment to respond.

I chose the word assessment to be the focal point of my presentation as it seems like such a buzz word these days. I saw it as a way to perhaps capture the attention of the key players, namely administration within the K-12 academic environment. Ultimately I envisioned using Scratch in my curriculum as an alternative way to assess students understanding of concepts other than the traditional paper and pencil test, thus providing other opportunities for students to feel successful.

My background is science research, specifically agricultural research. However, I have always had an interest in computer programming. It's just fun!

You sound very much like me. You like to play and tinker and you don't mind telling students, "you know, I am just not sure about that just yet, let's figure it out together". I find a lot of teachers are not willing to take this risk. I feel they miss the point of the learning process.

I read your post regarding the need for advocating computer programming in K-12 curriculum. It is right on point. Although my principal was initially enthusiastic, she retreated, basically, I think, because she did not understand it. It must have seem cartoonish to her, when in fact, my students projects were very high level in terms of their evidencing their understanding of key science concepts. I don't think the key players understand the import of teaching computer science concepts in the K-12 curriculum at this point in time. If we are to advance a computer science curriculum, this certainly, from my personal experience, is an area that needs focus.

I plan to present an update to the 2010 presentation on this project in July 2012. Hopefully you are able to attend the conference this year. If so, please stop by. I am presenting on Thursday afternoon, room 244.



Vicki Gold

I am in the position where I will be writing Scratch assessments, and although I have learned to write them I find that in reality, I am unclear of how to use them effectively. Therefore, I have set out on a mini-research project to learn more about the usage of assessments. In addition, thanks for acknowledging my personal frustration with the Stem initiative, and for the link to the Newsweek article.

As a teacher, I use both Scratch and Game Maker. My background is as a programmer with no art. My students have taught me almost everything that I know about using the programs’ drawing tools. Without any prompting, the students learn to integrate, their artistic skills with their programming and game making skills. Their pride in their work always astonishes me. I am not allowed to rest until I post their games on my Web site. I of course do not know their Torrance score, but I bet some of my students especially those on the high end of the autism spectrum would score particularly high. I also appreciate your inclusion of how tools such as Scratch reach the Special Ed population.

Lastly, I’d like to include that five years ago, even with my experience when I began teaching programming it was a difficult task. I created lesson-plans but they served only as a rough outline for what really happened in class. Scratch has so many options, and kids want to do so many variations makes for staying on a scripted plan near to impossible. I think the best training for new Scratch teachers is for them to practice saying I don’t know, let’s learn together, you figure it out and teach me, you and your friends figure it out and teach the class, first person in the class to figure it out gets extra credit, or I will get back to you next class and tell you how to do it. I am sure there are many more ways to respond but those are my usual answers. It is not easy at first, but it works and most kids are fine with it. Thanks for your posting.
Vicki Gold