Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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Computer Science for All (CS for All)

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    47.070; 47.076

    Funder Type

    Federal Government

    IT Classification

    B - Readily funds technology as part of an award


    National Science Foundation (NSF)


    Launched under President Obama, Computer Science for All is a bold initiative to empower all American students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science and be equipped with the computational thinking skills they need to be creators in the digital economy, not just consumers, and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world. Our economy is rapidly shifting, and both educators and business leaders are increasingly recognizing that computer science (CS) is a new basic skill necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility.

    A key goal of this program is to provide all U.S. students the opportunity to participate in computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) education in their schools at the preK-12 levels. CT refers to the thought processes involved in formulating problems and their solutions in such a way that the solutions can be effectively carried out by an information-processing agent (usually a computer). CT activities do not require the presence of a computing tool, but involve the requisite reasoning needed to capitalize on the use of computational tools. CS, as used in this solicitation, includes CT but also the broad range of understandings, competencies, and skills needed to apply computation in our digital world. It includes topics of problem specification and representation; algorithm development; software design, programming, and debugging; the Internet; big data; cybersecurity; and application across a wide range of disciplines, including the associated societal impact and ethical considerations. This solicitation focuses on CS and CT instruction, as distinct from the mere use of computers or the use of common computational tools such as word processors or presentation software (the latter often referred to as computational literacy).

    This program supports researcher-practitioner partnerships (RPPs) and research with the goal of building knowledge from research and development to support providing opportunities for all students to participate in CS and CT formal STEM learning at the elementary, middle, and high school grade levels. Proposals will be funded in four strands that foster design, implementation at scale, and research. Proposals in the High School Strand, PreK-8 Strand, and the Pathways Strand must come from RPPs, whereas proposals in the Research Strand are not subject to this requirement.

    In order to ensure that advances in computing education are inclusive of our diverse student populations (the for All” part of CS for All”), proposals on any strand must address, in a significant manner, longstanding underrepresentation in computing. Groups traditionally underrepresented or underserved in computing include women, persons with disabilities, African Americans/Blacks, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Native Pacific Islanders, and persons from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. All proposals will be evaluated on the two additional Broadening Participation Criteria specific to this solicitation.


    History of Funding


    Additional Information

    RPPs are defined in the literature as long-term, mutualistic collaborations between practitioners and researchers that are intentionally organized to investigate problems of practice and solutions for improving district [and school] outcomes"[1]. RPPs require well-organized teams of academic researchers and preK-12 practitioners (teachers, administrators, and counselors), possibly augmented with other community, foundation, policy, and industry partners. Members of these teams work together to iteratively define and refine common goals, research questions, metrics, and implementations. There are a variety of ways in which these RPPs can be organized. Examples include Research Alliances, Design-Based Implementation Research, and Networked Improvement Communities as described in the implementation and improvement of science literature.

    RPPs aim to strengthen the capacity of an organization to reliably produce valued CS and CT education outcomes for diverse groups of students, educated by different teachers in varied organizational contexts. The focus is on building efforts that can succeed when implemented at scale. These studies have less prescriptive research designs and methods, with research occurring in rapid, iterative, and context-expanding cycles. They require the deep engagement of researchers and practitioners during the collaborative research on problems of practice that are co-defined and of value to researchers and education agencies, such as a school district or community of schools. These types of projects seek to: study implementation in the local context; employ rapid changes in implementation with short-cycle methods; capitalize on variation in educational contexts to address the sources of variability in outcomes to understand what works, for whom, and under what conditions; address organizational structures and processes and their relation to innovation; employ measurement of change ideas, key drivers, and outcomes to continuously test working theories and to learn whether specific changes actually produce improvement; and reform the system in which the approach is being implemented as opposed to overlaying a specific approach on an existing system.

    RPP Strands include:

    • For the high school strand, the focus is on preparing and supporting teachers to teach rigorous CS courses;
    • For the preK-8 strand, the focus is on designing, developing, and piloting instructional materials that integrate CS and CT into preK-8 classrooms; and
    • For preK-12 or preK-14 pathways strand, the focus is on designing pathways that support school districts in developing policies and supports for incorporating CS and CT across all grades and potentially into introductory levels at community or four-year colleges and universities.

    For the Research Strand, the focus is on building strategically instrumental, or "high leverage" knowledge about the learning and teaching of introductory computer science to support key CS and CT understandings and abilities for all students. Research proposals must focus on support for introductory, rather than advanced, learning in computer science. Topics that are typically taught in courses that require prerequisite coursework in computer science are not intended to be in focus for the Research Strand.


    Jeffrey Forbes

    Jeffrey Forbes
    4201 Wilson Boulevard
    Arlington, VA 22230
    (703) 292-8950

    Allyson Kennedy

    Allyson Kennedy
    4201 Wilson Boulevard
    Arlington, VA 22230
    (703) 292-8950

    Michael Ford

    Michael Ford
    4201 Wilson Boulevard
    Arlington, VA 22230
    (703) 292-5153

  • Eligibility Details

    CS for All is a program intended to build on efforts already being made by applicants. NSF welcomes proposals on behalf of all qualified scientists, engineers and educators. The Foundation strongly encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to participate fully in its programs.

    Eligible applicants are (1) Universities and Colleges; (2) Non-profit, non-academic organizations; (3) For-profit organizations; (4) State and Local Governments; (5) Unaffiliated Individuals; (6) Foreign organizations; and (6) Other Federal agencies

    Deadline Details

    Applications were to be submitted by either April 27, 2020 or February 10, 2021. Applications are to be submitted by the second Wednesday in February, annually thereafter until a new solicitation is released by NSF.

    Award Details

    Up to $20,000,000 is available for approximately 27 total awards. Of this number, 8 small projects, 7 medium projects, 3 large projects, and 9 research projects will be funded. There is no cost sharing/match required.

    • Small RPP proposals (maximum of $300,000 for up to 2 years) are designed to support the initial steps in establishing a strong and well-integrated RPP team that could successfully compete for a Medium or Large proposal in the near future.
    • Medium RPP proposals (maximum of $1,000,000 for up to 3 years) are designed to support the modest scaling of a promising approach by a well-defined RPP team.
    • Large RPP proposals (maximum of $2,000,000 for up to 4 years) are designed to support the widespread scaling of an evidence-based approach by a RPP team that builds on prior collaborations.
    • Research proposals (maximum of $500,000 for up to 3 years) are designed to support research projects.

    Related Webcasts Use the links below to view the recorded playback of these webcasts

    • Funding Classroom Technology to Empower Students and Teachers - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Maximizing Technology-friendly Workforce Development Grants - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Funding Data-driven Workforce Development Projects - Sponsored by NetApp - Playback Available


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