In Spring 2014, 24 Computer Science teachers in Chicago and Washington, DC completed a questionnaire that, among other things, asked them to describe inquiry and equity in their classroom. All of the teachers were using Exploring Computer Science (ECS) instructional materials.

Here's what they said (unedited):

Some teachers provided their own interpretation of equity in the computer science classroom.

Equity is a learning concept where the challenges are designed so that all students can participate and attain success regardless of their prior knowledge, skills or cultural background.

All students have value. Their voices and experiences are important and necessary for all of the class to move forward. All students' are respected and seen as a valuable part of the classroom community. Lessons and activities are designed so that all students regardless of ability and experience have the opportunity to contribute and discover meaning.

ALL students have equal access to resources, rigor, opportunities, and even to committing mistakes to grow....

Every student is given an opportunity to participate in the discussion and provide input.

All student voices are valued in the learning process.

Everyone should have the opportunity to learn whatever it is we're trying to learn. No one should feel like this doesn't apply to them or [it] is out of their reach.

[The teacher] need[s] to interact with all students the same. Don't spend more or less time with certain individuals.

All students should have equal opportunity to learn CS.


Other teachers shared their approaches to promoting equity in the classroom.

Regular, explicit mentions by me of the importance of getting input from all the group; evaluating student pairs and groups to ensure all are participating; periodically mixing groups so students learn from others they might not normally choose; demonstrating through participation selections that everyone has a valuable contribution to make, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, prior experience, grade in the class; checking in with students individually as we start new material to make sure I'm not assuming prior knowledge.

In my classroom equity might look like sharing of ideas, thoughts and experiences for all students. No one is left out of any activity whether it is a small or large group activity. Also equity is the merging of those ideas, thoughts and experiences while showcasing each individual’s vision of what a project or activity should look like. Finally, equity means giving each student equity of voice and opportunity in the classroom environment.

Equity in my classroom means affording everyone the opportunity to participate in a lesson regardless of disabilities or anything else. It means modifying the peanut butter lesson if students are allergic to peanuts. It means creating a PowerPoint for my students who are visual learners.

As for Equity…the students are able to speak or write down on a posted note their thoughts or ideas. In addition, students are encouraged to email the teacher.

Equity in my classroom is when I notice in small group discussions that each person is interacting in some way. Equity is also making sure that anytime a student makes an inappropriate comment or says something to another student in a negative way, I make sure to address it.

All students have elbow partners. And all students have labs stored on their gmail accounts.

Pairing students with certain strengths and weaknesses to complement each other. Varying ways an assignment can be done to determine competency.

Subject matter is introduced making connections w/ students’ experience. I demonstrate and lecture sufficient to allow students to pursue the subject by developing their own resources and approaches.

Which responses most reflect an equitable classroom? What does equity look like in your own classroom or school?