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School Leaders Mostly Mystified by Computer Science Education

By THE Journal

February 4, 2015

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A disparity exists in the type of computer science (CS) education available to students in higher- versus lower-income schools, according to a new Oracle Academy survey of U.S. teachers administered by the Computer Science Teachers Association.

The survey of more than 500 secondary school teachers found that 77.5 percent reported their schools offered CS courses, although this could refer to anything from business management to robotics courses. However, only 60 percent of those schools where a majority of students qualified for free or reduced lunch offered CS courses, compared to 80 percent of more prosperous schools. The numbers were similar for extracurricular CS programs, as only 40 percent of poorer schools offered such programs compared to 100 percent of the wealthier schools.

The broad range of subjects considered computer science was another problem, as was the fact that only 40 percent of schools permitted a CS class to count towards a requirement in math, science, or technology.

The report made a number of suggestions, including that CS courses be counted towards math or science credits and graduation requirements, and that schools work together to establish common standards for the CS curriculum.

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