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Title: Understanding Professional Identity of Computer Science Teachers: Design of the Computer Science Teacher Identity Survey
Motivation: Recent efforts to expand K-12 computer science education highlight the great need for well-prepared computer science (CS) teachers. Teacher identity theory offers a particular conceptual lens for us to understand computer science teacher preparation and professional development. The emerging literature suggests that teacher identity is central to sustaining motivation, efficacy, job satisfaction, and commitment, and these attributes are crucial in determining teacher retention. While the benefits associated with a strong sense of teacher identity are great, teachers face unique challenges and tensions in developing their professional identity for teaching computer science. Objectives: This exploratory study attempts to operationalize computer science teacher identity through discussing the potential domains, proposing and testing a quantitative instrument for assessing computer science teachers’ professional identity. Method: We first discussed the potential domains of computer science teacher identity based on recent teacher identity literature and considerations on some unique challenges for computer science teachers. Then we proposed the computer science teacher identity scale, which was piloted through a national K-12 computer science teacher survey with 3,540 completed responses. The survey results were analyzed with a series of factor analyses to test the internal structure of the computer science teacher identity scale. Results: Our analyses reveal a four-factor solution for the computer science teacher identity scale, which is composed of CS teaching commitment, CS pedagogical confidence, confidence to engage students, and sense of community/belonging. There were significant differences among the teachers with different computer science teaching experiences. In general, teachers with more computer science teaching experience had higher computer science teacher identity scores on all four factors. Discussion: The four-factor model along with a large national dataset invites a deeper analysis of the data and can provide important benchmarks. Such an instrument can be used to explore developmental patterns in computer science teacher identity, and function as a pedagogical tool to provoke discussion and reflection among teachers about their professional development. This study may also contribute to understanding computer science teachers’ professional development needs and inform efforts to prepare, develop, and retain computer science teachers.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
ICER 2021: Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research
Page Range / eLocation ID:
281 to 293
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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