The main goal of this pilot project was to learn about the best way and the major benefits of teaching computer programming to young students.
In January 2015, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Municipality of Lisbon, Academia de Código, NOVA School of Business and Economics and MAZE partnered to launch the first Social Impact Bond (SIB) in Portugal. Three years after, MAZE is proud to release a report that shares lessons learned along the way.
This SIB was used to finance five semesters of computer programming classes delivered by Academia de Código, in three public primary schools in Lisbon. Programming classes’ syllabus was articulated with both portuguese and maths national curriculums.
At the end of the project, in June 2016, Nova SBE assessed the students’ logical thinking ability and school performance (measured by portuguese and math results). The outcomes of 75 students who took the classes were compared with the outcomes of other 75 students who didn’t.
Overall, students who participated in the Junior Code Academy* project showed superior performance in maths and an improvement in their logical reasoning ability. Based on this, the Municipality of Lisbon partly reimbursed the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation for its upfront investment.
Partners considered the project a success for the rich learning generated and the rigorous evaluation method used. Due to this SIB we were able to learn about the the most adequate outcomes indicators and the most appropriate assessment methods.
MAZE believes the lessons learned about the intervention and the instrument represent valuable insights for those who will design similar projects, which is why we couldn’t help but share it.
*the Junior Code Academy has since evolved to become ubbu, a code literacy platform.