Equity Conjectures: A Methodological Tool for Centering Social Change in Learning and Design

Ung Sang A. Lee, David DeLiema, Kimberley Gomez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This article offers methodological insights and tools to those engaged in design-based research (DBR) seeking to advance equity-oriented learning and outcomes through co-design. We respond to recent scholarship that points to the inseparability between the assumptions we hold about society and those we hold about learning, and consider how such insights can inform the methods we employ to facilitate learning in DBR. To do so, we examine the affordances of equity conjectures, statements about how learning remedies socially and historically constructed injustices, within conjecture mapping, a process frequently used in DBR efforts to make assumptions about learning visible to ground design, implementation, and iterative refinement. We share how we made participants’ equity conjectures visible in a research-practice partnership (RPP) between university researchers, elementary computer science (CS) curriculum designers, and elementary school teachers. We examine how making these equity conjectures visible during co-design of equity-focused CS lessons facilitated shifts in both the design process and the CS education practices of participating teachers. Our findings point to the utility of explicitly surfacing equity conjectures in collaborative design efforts aimed at equity and justice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-99
Number of pages23
JournalCognition and Instruction
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant Award #1837488 Programming as a Context for Making Problem Solving Visible: An Equity Focused K-5 Research Practice Partnership, PI: Josh Taylor, Co-PI, Kimberley Gomez, Ph.D. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The authors wish to thank our research-practice partnership members for their willingness to engage in equity-centered design conversations. A special thank you to Amy Berkhoudt, MA for her ongoing collaboration and support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


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