This program has evolved and grown into the Program by Design (PBD) project. This site is now out-of-date and remains only for historical purposes. Please instead go to the PBD site for up-to-date information.

We have received several questions from teachers, school board members and school district curriculum evaluators, and also parents and students, who are trying to evaluate our program. The following notes attempt to anticipate these questions and answer them. If you have questions not answered here, or need additional information, please contact us by email at schldist@teach-scheme.org.

  1. What is the intervention you have developed and are proposing?

    We have developed an innovative curriculum for students at the high school and introductory collegiate level. Our curriculum is based on modern techniques and tools for programming and its pedagogy, and is related to the curriculum used at several internationally renowned universities, as well as many progressive high schools. Our curricular outreach Web space has more information on the program.

    We propose to have computer science and math high school teachers adopt and use this curriculum.

  2. What is its correlation to state requirements?

    We have not checked our material against the guidelines of every state; however, our experiences with Texas and New York will hopefully be useful in judging its applicability to other states.

    Texas

    Our material addresses the requirements of several Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) requirements in both computer science and mathematics.

    Note: One of the teachers using our curriculum is a co-author of the CS1 and CS2 TEKS, and agrees that the curriculum fully meets the requirements of the sections listed below. If you wish to get in touch with her, please let us know.

    Computer Science:

    Mathematics:

    New York

    Our collaborator, Stephen Bloch of Adelphi University, has compiled notes on how our curriculum applies to the Regents' requirements.

  3. What are the hardware and networking requirements?

    Networking: There are no networking requirements. The software can be installed from a network, if available, or using floppy disks. The curricular material is available via the Internet, but can be used without access to the Internet.

    Hardware: Our software runs on a wide variety of hardware including PCs, Apple hardware (both PowerPC and 680x0), and various workstations (such as Sparcstations). It runs under Windows, MacOS, and numerous versions of Unix (including the free Linux OS). the DrRacket pages list the currently supported operating systems and architectures.

    Memory: Our principal software package is a graphical programming environment called DrScheme, designed specifically for beginners. It requires a minimum of 20 megabytes (Mb) of RAM and 32 Mb of total memory to run. We have textual versions that run in as little as 2 Mb, though these do not have all the beginner-friendly features.

  4. What are the training requirements for participating staff and faculty?

    We strongly recommend that teachers go through a training workshop conducted by representatives of our group. We conduct these workshops free of cost to participants. There is additional information about the workshops available on-line. If there is sufficient interest in a school district, we would consider offering a special workshop for that district at a mutually convenient time. The workshops last a week, though we can also offer an accelerated version over a weekend.

  5. Is this a research-based intervention? Are you proposing to collect data? What is your research plan? Duration of the intervention? Other expectations and requirements?

    Our funding sources require us to report on the success of our program. To this end, we will conduct surveys of students to judge what effect our material has had on their knowledge of computer science and algebra. This will consist primarily of entry and exit evaluations, but may include tests at intermediate stages.

    The pace of the curriculum depends on the grade-level and aptitude of the students. The same material can take as little as one semester at a university and as much as two years in a school. We have designed the material so that teachers can teach just a semester- or year-long course if that is the only flexibility permitted by their curricula. Our material is especially suitable for a strong pre-AP computer science course.

  6. What are the costs involved?

    Nothing. Our textbook, exercises, solution sets and teacher's guide are all available for free on the Web. Our programming environment is also available at no cost. The summer training program for teachers is free of cost, and we have some financial support both for attending the course and for implementing the curriculum. We are supported by several organizations.