What aspects of the Exploring Computer Science (ECS) or Computer Science Principles (CSP) curriculum might present accessibility challenges to students with disabilities?

Date Updated
04/07/21

Exploring Computer Science (ECS) and Computer Science Principles (CSP) are two different curricula for computer science that are used in K-12 settings. Both have the potential to be accessible to students with disabilities, but also present accessibility challenges. These challenges include

  • Programming environments and languages, including Python, Alice, and Scratch, may not be accessible to some students (e.g., those who are blind or who have mobility-related disabilities).
  • Teachers without a strong computer science background are often resistant to learning another programming language or teaching multiple languages in one class.
  • Some assignments, such as creating animations, are fundamentally inaccessible to some students with disabilities.
  • Pair programming during the Advanced Placement (AP) test can create logistical problems between someone with a disability and someone without a disability.
  • There is very little existing knowledge of how people with dyslexia, attention deficits, autism, or other invisible disabilities work in each programming language or utilize text-based versus drag-and-drop programming environments.
  • Requesting accommodations for the AP test is cumbersome.
  • Some teachers do not have the right resources—there may not be money in a school’s budget for assistive technology.
  • There are very few computer science professionals with disabilities serving as role models.

For information on how computer instructors can more fully include students with disabilities in computer science courses visit the knowledge base articles How can K-12 computing instructors get support working with students with disabilities? and How can K-12 computing courses be made accessible to students with disabilities? In addition AccessCSforAll offers real-time support instructors who are teaching students with disabilities. For real-time support, contact accesscsforall@uw.edu or 509-328-9331.