A2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review
Computational Thinking in Programming with Scratch in Primary Schools : A Systematic Review (2021)

Fagerlund, J., Häkkinen, P., Vesisenaho, M., & Viiri, J. (2021). Computational Thinking in Programming with Scratch in Primary Schools : A Systematic Review. Computer Applications in Engineering Education, 29(1), 12-28. https://doi.org/10.1002/cae.22255

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Fagerlund, Janne; Häkkinen, Päivi; Vesisenaho, Mikko; Viiri, Jouni

Journal or series: Computer Applications in Engineering Education

ISSN: 1061-3773

eISSN: 1099-0542

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 29

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 12-28

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/cae.22255

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/68923

Additional information: Special Issue: Computational Thinking for STEAM and Engineering Education


Computer programming is being introduced in educational curricula, even at the primary school level. One goal of this implementation is to teach computational thinking (CT), which is potentially applicable in various computational problem-solving situations. However, the educational objective of CT in primary schools is somewhat unclear: curricula in various countries define learning objectives for topics, such as computer science, computing, programming or digital literacy but not for CT specifically. Additionally, there has been confusion in concretely and comprehensively defining and operationalising what to teach, learn and assess about CT in primary education even with popular programming akin to Scratch. In response to the growing demands of CT, by conducting a literature review on studies utilising Scratch in K–9, this study investigates what kind of CT has been assessed in Scratch at the primary education level. As a theoretical background for the review, we define a tangible educational objective for introducing CT comprehensively in primary education and concretise the fundamental skills and areas of understanding involved in CT as its “core educational principles”. The results of the review summarise Scratch programming contents that students can manipulate and activities in which they can engage that foster CT. Moreover, methods for formatively assessing CT via students’ Scratch projects and programming processes are explored. The results underpin that the summarised “CT-fostering” programming contents and activities in Scratch are vast and multidimensional. The next steps for this research are to refine pedagogically meaningful ways to assess CT in students' Scratch projects and programming processes.

Keywords: programming; thinking; mathematical thinking; programming languages; primary and lower secondary education

Free keywords: computational thinking; programming; Scratch; assessment; primary school

Contributing organizations

Related research datasets

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:10