Assessing computational thinking: A systematic review of empirical studies

Xiaodan Tang*, Yue Yin, Qiao Lin, Roxana Hadad, Xiaoming Zhai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

317 Scopus citations


With the increasing attention to Computational Thinking (CT) in education, there has been a concomitant rise of needs and interest in investigating how to assess CT skills. This study systematically reviewed how CT has been assessed in the literature. We reviewed 96 journal articles to analyze specific CT assessments from four perspectives: educational context, assessment construct, assessment type, and reliability and validity evidence. Our review results indicate that (a) more CT assessments are needed for high school, college students, and teacher professional development programs, (b) most CT assessments focus on students' programming or computing skills, (c) traditional tests and performance assessments are often used to assess CT skills, and surveys are used to measure students’ CT dispositions, and (d) more reliability and validity evidence needs to be collected and reported in future studies. This review identifies current research gaps and future directions to conceptualize and assess CT skills, and the findings are expected to be beneficial for researchers, curriculum designers, and instructors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103798
JournalComputers and Education
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • 21st century abilities
  • Applications in subject areas
  • Computational thinking
  • Evaluation methodologies
  • Information literacy
  • Teaching/learning strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Education


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