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STEM News Roundup: Computer Science Organizations Collaborate to Create Framework that Outlines What K-12 Students Should Learn

STEM News Roundup: Computer Science Organizations Collaborate to Create Framework that Outlines What K-12 Students Should Learn

As bringing computer science instruction to all U.S. K–12 schools rapidly becomes a national focus, a group of established computer science organizations have gathered to help schools better understand what they should be teaching.

Called the K–12 Computer Science Framework, the guide was developed by the Association for Computing Machinery, Code.org, Computer Science Teachers Association, Cyber Innovation Center, and National Math and Science Initiative and is supported by big names like Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.

The extensive framework includes standards, curriculum, course pathways and even professional development suggestions for all K–12 grade levels.

The framework recommends that computer science be integrated into early education, as well. Computer science instruction "guides young learners to notice, name, and recognize how computing shapes their world. In this way, pre-K brings computer science to life, preparing kids for the larger K–12 framework,” the framework says.

The high-profile individuals, organizations and institutions that have endorsed the framework signed onto a Statement of Support that reads: 

"We believe that the K–­12 Computer Science Framework will provide an important foundation for increasing access and opportunity to high-quality computer science in every state, from kindergarten to twelfth grade. The framework holds promise to enhance the K­–12 experience of all students while preparing them for a wide variety of postsecondary experiences and careers.”

The framework and accompanying handouts are available for download here. 

Early Teacher Bias Might Contribute to STEM Gender Gap

According to new research based on data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS), teacher bias might be a major contributing factor to why women are underrepresented in STEM studies and careers.

The study found that "teachers continue to rate girls’ math proficiency lower than similarly achieving and behaving boys from Grade 1 onward,” in turn likely affecting girls’ confidence in their ability to succeed in math.

Not the first study to find evidence of teachers bias against girls, the researchers believe their findings warrant further research into the cause of early gender gaps in math.

Read the full story.

National Chemistry Week: Online Resources for Teaching Chem

This week concludes National Chemistry Week (Oct. 24–28), and so Education World has honored the occasion with a series of stand-out online resources that can help to teach chemistry in the classroom.

The full list of resources is available here.

U.S. Students Improve Science Skills

Although not a drastic improvement, the results from the Nation's Report Card: 2015 Science assessment reveal that U.S. students have improved since the last time they were tested in 2009 and 2011.

"In 2015, 22 percent of 12th graders performed at or above the Proficient achievement level, which denotes competency over challenging subject matter. Additionally, 38 percent of fourth graders and 34 percent of eighth graders performed at or above Proficient—an increase of 4 percentage points at both grades compared with 2009,” said the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) aka the Nation’s Report Card in a statement.

On another positive note, the results revealed that the achievement gap between white and minority students is closing when compared to 2009 scores.

Read more about the findings here. 

STEM Tool Combines Comics, Computational Thinking

The creators of a STEM education tool that has found success in Sweden are seeking funding for an English version that will help U.S. children to “think like a programmer.”

Called Curly Bracket - The Hidden Code, the graphic novel combines comics and computational thinking to spark student interest in STEM.

Read more here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

10/28/2016

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