Our Projects

ETR can support your organization or project in numerous ways to best fulfill your goals. Whether you need short-term capacity-building assistance, customized trainings, program evaluations, full-scale research projects, technical assistance clearinghouses, or high-quality print and digital resources, we can help. Please review our core competencies to learn more about our areas of expertise.

ETR's multidisciplinary teams are committed to the highest standards of quality in their respective fields.

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Boot Camp or University Classroom? Preparing Women and Underrepresented Minorities for the Software Development Workforce

With the rapid rise of coding boot camps promising training that leads directly to lucrative jobs, industry has more options for finding trained employees to fill software development jobs. However, it is not well understood who attends these boot camps and how the training they offer aligns with workforce needs. This study—a collaborative work with the College of Charleston—investigates what skills and knowledge both coding boot camps and university computer science programs offer to their students and how these align with the skills and knowledge that employers seek in newly minted software developers.

The Benefits of Computer Game Programming: A Research Synthesis

The goal of this project is to systematically analyze and summarize research on the benefits of computer game programming for children. In the last decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of tools and opportunities for children and young adults to learn to program computer games, but no accumulation of knowledge about what children learn, the best pedagogical strategies, and which tools and learning environments promote different kinds of outcomes, and for whom. The methodology will use an integrative approach, specifically a meta-synthesis, which is an interpretive integration of qualitative and quantitative research findings based on a systematic literature search and analysis process. The study will go through seven steps, and a panel of content and methodology experts will evaluate the rigor and transparency at each step of the analysis process. The results will be written up and shared with three audiences: academic researchers, educators and program developers, and funders.

Beyond Marketing to Stealth Recruitment: Creating ICT Pathways from High School to College and Work for Underrepresented Groups

This project is building technical education pathways that motivate and prepare rural, high school students from underrepresented groups to enter and stay on information and communications technology (ICT) pathways. It involves two key strategies: building strong, sustainable partnerships across high schools, community colleges, and employers, and infusing ICT skills into digital media high school classes and aligning them with college classes and workforce needs. This “stealth recruitment” approach is in contrast to most efforts that take a marketing approach that tries to convince students of the value of ICT classes; instead it leverages students’ interests in digital media and contextualizes their learning. Read more >>

Can Pair Programming Reduce the Gender Gap in Computing? A Study of Middle School Students Learning to Program

This study aims to understand the conditions under which pair programming can foster the kind of thinking and problem solving that will prepare middle school students to pursue and persist in computing fields. The design experiment involves 80 girls and boys from a range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds who are enrolled in game programming classes. Read more >>

Computer Game Programming Classes for Children

ETR has developed, implemented and analyzed studies of over 800 middle school students in computer game programming classes, including developing and testing curriculum and pedagogical approaches for using game programming to teach computational concepts, and testing a range of strategies to assess learning. A systematic synthesis of research on what children learn from computer game programming was begun in fall of 2014.

Computer Science for the Social Good: Using Near-Peers to Engage Latino/a Students

Latinos are the fasting growing ethnic minority population in the US, but are underrepresented in computing fields. In this project, we are designing and testing an afterschool program that aims to increase the interest and capacity of Latino youth to pursue and persist in computing fields, and build their capacity to transform their schools. Read more >>

Computing for the Social Good (CS Teach)

This program used a near-peer strategy for infusing Computer Science (CS) content and the connection between CS and the social good into the K-12 curriculum, because effective strategies for engaging Latino/a students in CS require an increased focus on the societal implications of computing.

The Digital NEST: Building Pathways to Computing Education and Careers for Latino/a Youth

This project aims to identify effective strategies that community technology centers can use to prepare, support and motivate underserved high school students to pursue and persist in computer science courses and careers. This is a partnership between ETR and a community technology center called the Digital NEST that prepares Latino/a high school students for the tech workforce. 

Informal Learning in Computer Science: Social and Conceptual Factors Related to Women’s Persistence

This study focuses on women who are technologically savvy system administrators on the Salesforce Customer Relationship Management (CRM) cloud-based software platform, who are gathering informal resources such as online tutorials, books and online forums or blogs in order to teach themselves to code and who are forming women-only virtual coaching and learning groups to help them in their learning. The study will use an ethnographic approach to better understand both the social and conceptual barriers to and supports for these women in their quest to learn to code, in order to find ways to develop more effective resources for adult CS learners in the workplace.

Math Pathways: A Longitudinal, Dyadic Study of Parent-Child Influence in Latino Families

In this longitudinal study, we study the role of relationships in children’s development. The focus is on Latino students, who underperform in mathematics; it fills a gap in research on how relationships with parents and teachers shape math achievement and attitudes such as perceived competence and the value attached to learning math. Participants include 300 mother-child-teacher triads who will complete surveys at four time points, starting in 5th grade. Read more >>