Video 3: Provide Options for Sustaining Effort and Persistence

Learning a new skill, such as computer science, requires a great deal of attention and effort. However, learners come into the CS classrooms with a range of motivations and strategies to help them remain on task. Some learners struggle with this and can become easily distracted.  Ideally, our students will be able to work on their projects to the best of their ability nevertheless. In CS education, we provide strategies to help students remain on task and persist:

Strategies for sustaining effort and persistence include:

  • Provide timely and specific feedback to promote effort and persistence. Providing frequent check-ins with students provides them a way to incorporate feedback into their work while boosting their mastery over the material. Check-ins provide specific feedback for student work highlighting things done well and evaluating things to be improved as well as answering any questions.
  • Support students when debugging. For example, introduce metacognitive strategies such as use a tool such as Debugging Detective or rubber duck debugging
  • Collaboration can improve persistence, when designed with equity in mind. Pair programming and using a collaborative discussion framework collaborative discussion framework are ways to promote successful collaborative structures. Student collaboration should be taught and modeled and feedback on the collaboration should be provided.
  • Provide the right amount of challenge to keep students working on projects. Multiple entry points (e.g., completed code, buggy code, “spicy”extensions) to projects encourage students to display creativity.
  • Help students set goals for their work in bite-sized chunks with tangible goals through their progression. These can be established through a series of predetermined “I can” statements, which are kid-friendly objectives.


Effort and persistence allows students to stay with challenges that may come about in programming and it also creates an environment for them to take their projects further.

Resources related to this guideline include:


Note: We use CAST’s (2018) Version 2.2 of the Guidelines. The CAST link is similarly numbered. UDL for Teachers uses a previous version of the guidelines, so numbering and terms may vary.