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A Computer-based Competency Assessment of Computational Thinking: Computational Thinking Challenge

Assessing Computational Thinking Competency in the 21st century: Computational Thinking Challenge

Project summary

Computational Thinking (CT), entailing both domain-general problem-solving and domain-specific programming skills, is a competency fundamental to many subject areas. Situating CT competency as a 21st century skill, this project includes the design, development, and evaluation of a novel computer-based competency assessment, Computational Thinking Challenge. The project draws on and bridges psychometrics, learning sciences, and computing education to further theories, research, and practice for computational thinking competency.

The assessment can be accessed at For more information or collaboration, please contact the principal investigator.


  • To develop a competency-based assessment by integrating multiple contexts, item formats, and problem types to measure the diversity of CT competency. 
  • To adopt a hybrid approach to assessment by leveraging summative and formative assessment functions to serve researchers, educators, and students. 
  • To develop a technology-enhanced assessment of CT competency. 

Project outputs and dissemination 

Lai, R. P. Y., & Ellefson, M. R. (2022). How multidimensional is computational thinking competency: A bi-factor model of computational thinking challenge. Journal of Educational Computing Research,1-24.

Lai, R. P. Y. (2021). Beyond Programming: A Computer-Based Assessment of Computational Thinking Competency. ACM Transactions on Computing Education, 22(2),14.

Lai, R. P. Y. (2021). Teachers’ Ontological Perspectives of Computational Thinking and Assessment: A Text Mining Approach. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 07356331211043547.

Other conference presentations and research articles are in progress. More information will be added as they become available.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Rina Lai (