Information about the ICER review and paper selection process
This document provides an overview of how the documents written by authors, reviewers, and program committee members function within ICER’s program determination process.
The program co-chairs of ICER are appointed by the SIGCSE board for two years and given the authority to make the program decisions. These decisions are informed by meta-reviews and recommendations made by program committee members, which in turn are based on manuscript reviews written by review committee members, which are based on the manuscripts submitted to the conference (please see our description of the Review Process, which defines the roles of program co-chair, reviewer and meta-reviewer). What binds this process together into a coherent whole is the explicitness of the rationales made visible in the submitted manuscripts and reviews.
In writing the manuscripts, authors do not simply make assertions about teaching and learning, relying on rhetorical flourish or personal authority. An excellent paper at a minimum makes explicit the following five things. First, the paper provides a clear focus of investigation, often stated as one or more research questions. Second, this research focus is related to the historical discourse within computing education, achieved by explicit reference to this discourse. In so doing, the paper extends this discourse, challenging, reconceptualizing, complicating, or strengthening prior claims and understandings of the topic at hand, thus setting the current research and its contributions in appropriate research context. Third, the paper makes explicit the methods of investigation, whether in the collection and analysis of new primary data, or in the reinterpretation and synthesis of the research findings of others extant in the literature. Fourth, the paper details its theoretical framework, whether indigenous to computing education, borrowed from other (general or discipline-based) educational research, or drawn from the social and behavioral sciences. Fifth, the paper presents the results in a way, which clearly supports the interpretations, arguments and conclusions of the research, while also taking a critical view of limitations of the research, i.e., discussion on validity, reliability, trustworthiness or likewise. We thus view excellence in authorship to be practiced when authors provide within the manuscript itself a rationale for the claims made and their significance for the computing education community.
For reviewers and meta-reviewers, there is this same obligation of explicitness. What needs to be made evident in the text of the review is a clear argument for the evaluations within each section of the review form. This chain of inference should be grounded in the specifics of the submitted manuscript and reflect an understanding of the prior discourse in the computing education community and the theories and methods that inform the community’s research literature. Program co-chairs are similarly obliged to make explicit their rationale for making program decisions. Although it is not possible to write decision letters for each paper due to time constraints, program decisions are nonetheless guided by the considerations detailed here.
Thus, all involved in creating the program—authors, reviewers, program committee members, and program co-chairs—are bound together in a web of rationales that ultimately is what gives program decisions their intelligibility by members of the computing education community and legitimacy outside the community. It is in this way that the research papers included in the program will serve as strong representations of this community’s research, worthy of consideration for improving the teaching and learning of computing in a multitude of contexts across the globe.