Measuring Computational Thinking Development with the FUN! Tool

  • Sarah BrasielEmail author
  • Kevin Close
  • Soojeong Jeong
  • Kevin Lawanto
  • Phil Janisiewicz
  • Taylor Martin
Part of the Educational Communications and Technology: Issues and Innovations book series (ECTII)


Computational thinking (CT) has been given recent attention suggesting that it be developed in children of all ages. With the creation of K-12 computer science standards by the Computer Science Teacher Association, states such as Massachusetts and Washington are leading the nation in adopting these standards into their school systems. This seems somewhat premature, when there are so few measures of computational thinking or computer programming skills that can be applied easily in a K-12 setting to assess outcomes of such state-wide initiatives. Through funding from the National Science Foundation, we developed an analysis tool to efficiently capture student learning progressions and problem-solving activities while coding in Scratch, a popular visual programming language developed by MIT Media Lab. Our analysis tool, the Functional Understanding Navigator! or FUN! tool, addresses the need to automate processes to help researchers efficiently clean, analyze, and present data. We share our experiences using the tool with Scratch data collected from three different week-long summer Scratch Camps with students in grades 5 to 8. Based on our preliminary analyses, we share important considerations for researchers interested in educational data mining and learning analytics in the area of assessing computational thinking. We also provide links to the publically available FUN! tool and encourage others to participate in a community developing new measures of computational thinking and computer programming.


Computational thinking Educational data mining Learning analytics 



This work is supported by the National Science Foundation Grant IIS-1319938. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Brasiel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kevin Close
    • 1
  • Soojeong Jeong
    • 1
  • Kevin Lawanto
    • 1
  • Phil Janisiewicz
    • 2
  • Taylor Martin
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Instructional Technology and Learning SciencesUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  2. 2.Agile DynamicsHoustonUSA
  3. 3.O’Reilly MediaSebastopolUSA

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