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Study: School Leaders 'Mystified' by Computer Science Education

Study: School Leaders 'Mystified' By Computer Science Education

Low-income schools are less likely than higher income schools to offer computer classes.

So says Dian Schaffhauser, technology writer, in an article on TheJournal.com. Schaffhauser looks at a survey administered by the Computer Science Teachers Association, a membership that "promotes the teaching of computer science and other computing disciplines.

The survey, according to the article, "was issued online to 20,000 secondary school teachers across the country; 503 people responded."

"Of those, 77.5 percent reported that their schools offer CS courses, but those courses tend to be more common in the better-funded ones," Schaffhauser wrote. "Of the 27 percent of schools where a majority of students qualify for free or reduced lunch, six of 10 have CS courses. In the 44 percent of schools where the majority of students don't qualify for free lunch, eight of 10 offer CS classes. In lower income schools with CS courses, four of 10 also offer after school or extracurricular programs in the subject. At higher income schools, that count was much higher — 10 of 10."

According to Schaffhauser, "The term 'computer science' boggled some respondents. When asked which kinds of CS classes their schools provided, some answered, 'business management,' 'yearbook layout,' "artificial intelligence,' 'robotics,' 'office applications' and 'automated design.'"

"Finally, there's a 'misperception' on the part of many schools that 'simply exposing students to technology as a tool or offering an hour of programming experience is equivalent to offering them the true CS education pathways that are needed to make students college- and career-ready,'" Schaffhauser wrote.

The organization recommended four calls to action:

  • High schools begin counting computer science courses toward graduation requirements
  • Schools come to an agreement about computer science curriculum and what common standards would be for all states and districts
  • Administrators ensure that computer science classes count toward a math or science credit
  • A national funding plan be created to give all students "equitable access to computer science education."

Here are the study's full results.

Read the full story and comment below.

Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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