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Over 29 States Now Allow Computer Science Courses to be Completed for Math, Science Credits

Over 29 States Now Allow Computer Science Courses to be Completed for Math, Science Credits

A report analyzing state graduation requirements for a standard diploma has found that 29 states now allow students to take computer science courses for math or science credits made possible by regulations or otherwise.

The Education Commission of the States released “Computer Science in High School Graduation Requirements" to analyze how recent efforts to bolster computer science on a national level has translated into the country’s schools.

The 20 states that now "require that students be allowed to apply specified computer science courses toward completion of mathematics, science or, in one state, language other than English graduation requirements for the standard diploma” are:

  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Eight other states, including the District of Columbia, however, “have authorized computer science to be recognized as a math or science credit through avenues other than statute or regulation.” The list includes the following:

  • Alabama
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Washington D.C.

Three other states permit the awarding of math and science credits for computer science but do so under restrictions. These states are Arizona, California and Colorado.

West Virginia, the report says, is in the process of drafting a plan that will "include, among other components, recommendations for a core set of learning standards designed to provide the foundation for a complete computer science curriculum and its implementation at the K–12 level.”

That brings the total of states recognizing computer science as a viable math or science credit to 32, a record high that can be attributed to a recent national push to get more students interested in the growing career field.

A report from early June, however, found that despite the recent push for the subject to be offered in K-12 schools, many are lacking the appropriate resources to do so.

The report, commissioned by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, found that many computer science courses focus too much on basic computer literacy or coding alone.

The Foundation recommends that computer science must become a core science subject in order for the U.S. to properly prepare and expose students to today’s needs.

"It is time for computer science to be seen as a core science on par with more traditional high school offerings such as biology, chemistry and physics, which have been the focus since the 1890s," the report said. 

Further, the foundation says improving teacher training on the subject is a critical next step for strengthening computer science in the states.

"Because many schools offer only a single CS course, teachers for these courses commonly have their main focus in another field. These teachers may not have the deep expertise or time to focus on creating an enriching curriculum and stimulating class environment.”

In other words, while it is promising that 33 states are now offering students an opportunity to take computer science for math and science credits versus simply as electives, experts argue improving the quality of courses offered is a critical next step. 

Read the full report from The Education Commission of the States here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

9/14/2016

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