DOI: 10.3390/mti8020011 ISSN: 2414-4088

Assessing the Efficacy of an Accessible Computing Curriculum for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Abdu Arslanyilmaz, Margaret L. Briley, Gregory V. Boerio, Katie Petridis, Ramlah Ilyas
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)

There is a limited amount of research dedicated to designing and developing computing curricula specifically tailored for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and thus far, no study has examined the effectiveness of an accessible computing curriculum designed specifically for students with ASD. The goal of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of an accessible curriculum in improving the learning of computational thinking concepts (CTCs) such as sequences, loops, parallelism, conditionals, operators, and data, as well as the development of proficiency in computational thinking practices (CTPs) including experimenting and iterating, testing and debugging, reusing and remixing, and abstracting and modularizing. The study involved two groups, each comprising twenty-four students. One group received instruction using the accessible curriculum, while the other was taught with the original curriculum. Evaluation of students’ CTCs included the analysis of pretest and posttest scores for both groups, and their CTPs were assessed through artifact-based interview scores. The results indicated improvement in both groups concerning the learning of CTCs, with no significant difference between the two curricula. However, the accessible computing curriculum demonstrated significant enhancements in students’ proficiency in debugging and testing, iterating and experimenting, modularizing and abstracting, as well as remixing and reusing. The findings suggest the effectiveness of accessible computing curricula for students with ASD.

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