What efforts exist to track the participation of students with disabilities in K-12 computer science education?

Date Updated

Very few data sets that offer data about students in computer science (CS) education include information about students with disabilities. Indeed, very few organizations collect this data.

One notable exception is the Computing Research Association’s Data Buddies. Data Buddies collects data from students and faculty members in computing departments nationwide and shares customized department reports with each institution about their students. Departmental reports include information about the number of students with disabilities in a department and the types of disabilities they have. Departments can also request to have their students’ data broken down by disability. Data Buddies findings have showcased the following information:

Findings such as these highlight the importance of including disability in conversations about CS education.

Another example of tracking the participation of students with disabilities in CS education is the annual State of Computer Science Report published by Code.org’s Advocacy Coalition, the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), and Expanding Computer Science Education Pathways (ECEP). Prior to 2020, the annual State of Computer Science Report rarely mentioned disability. In 2020, the 2020 State of Computer Science Education: Illuminating Disparities included data about disability reported from 11 states, in addition to data on English language learners and students eligible for free and reduced-price meals. Including this data led to a holistic vision of diversity that looks further than race, ethnicity, and gender. Tracking and collecting data about students with disabilities and other diverse groups can lead to meaningful work to ensure that all students are included in K-12 CS education.

You may also be interested in Where can I find promising practices regarding efforts to promote teaching inclusive K-12 computer science? For more information about collecting data about disability, read Why is data on disability so hard to collect and understand?