Stuck In the Shallow End

Our team has been at the forefront of broadening participation in computing activities for almost a decade now. Our current work builds on research conducted in 2000 under the auspices of the NSF-funded “Into the Loop Alliance,” presented in Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing (Margolis, Estrella, Goode, Jellison-Holme, Nao, 2008, 2017). The findings reveal how CS educational disparities fall along race, gender, and class lines and how computer science education has been a window into the reproduction of inequality. In 2008, in response to these findings, the Exploring Computer Science (ECS) program was created. The ECS program, that now exists nationwide, consists of 1) a year-long, research-based, high school, intro inquiry and equity based computer science curriculum (co-authors Joanna Goode and Gail Chapman) and 2) ECS teacher professional development program.

Exploring Computer Science

ECS was written by team members Joanna Goode and Gail Chapman, and was first piloted in 2008 through a partnership between UCLA and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). It has since spread to 25 states in the US, the 7 largest school districts in the nation, and Puerto Rico. Currently, the course reaches over 50,000 students annually.  As of 2018, the ECS national expansion and program development work is being led by our collaborators at the University of Oregon. Visit the Exploring Computer Science project website to learn more about the ECS program, please contact Joanna Goode and Gail Chapman through the ECS site:


In California, our team member Dr. Julie Flapan is the Executive Director of ACCESS (Alliance of California Computing Education for Students and Schools). ACCESS is a statewide network of computer science education leaders including: K-12 teachers, administrators and leaders; computer science professors from community colleges through universities; education school faculty and CS professional developers; industry professionals; and educational policy advocates. ACCESS is dedicated to advocating for high-quality K-12 computer science education in California and ensuring its accessibility to all students, specifically targeting underrepresented students including girls, students of color and low-income students. To learn more, please visit:

CSforCA is a public education campaign of the Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools, advocating for equity and access to meaningful computer science teaching and learning opportunities in California with a focus on inclusion of underrepresented students in computing including girls, low-income students, English learners, and students of color.  By 2025, our goal is to ensure that all California students will have access to high-quality computer science education that prepares them for college, careers and community engagement.


With support from the National Science Foundation, our team is working in research-practice partnership with 5 school districts across the state of California in a project entitled “SCALE-CA” (Supporting Computing Access, Leadership, and Equity in California). Our partnership formed to ensure the equitable, scalable, and sustainable implementation of CS education across California. To achieve this goal, SCALE-CA focuses attention on interlocking system-wide interventions at the: 1) classroom level through professional development for teachers, 2) district/county level through capacity building for school/district/local educational agency (LEA) leaders, and 3) state level through activities that inform policymakers. SCALE-CA builds on many years of prior collaboration with school districts across California who have been instrumental in launching CSforCA. From this foundation, the project seeks to scale teacher professional development, build capacity of education leaders for local implementation, and contribute to the research base to expand access to equity-minded CS teaching and learning opportunities across the state.

Computer Science students coding a project in Mississippi.
Computer Science student in Mississippi working on a project.