Standards for CS Teachers

The field of computer science (CS) education has rapidly accelerated over the past two decades, thanks to the contributions of countless organizations. Throughout this movement, we have learned a great deal more about effective K-12 CS instruction. By publishing this new version of Standards for CS Teachers, we aim to complement the universal outcomes for student learning delineated in the K-12 CS Framework (2016) and CSTA K-12 CS Standards (2017). The Standards for CS Teachers establish robust standards for the teachers who will prepare their students to meet these learning outcomes.

In 2019, the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) launched an effort to revise the Standards for CS Educators in partnership with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). These Standards were first created and published in 2003, last updated in 2011, and rewritten in 2019 for release in 2020. Learn about the writing process and authors.
 

Graphic illustrating the five Standards for CS TeachersVision

Effective CS teachers must have thorough content knowledge and skills in computer science and understand the student learning progression. They must also continuously refine their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and skills to support all students in meeting learning outcomes. 

These Standards are aspirational and dependent on sustained professional development (PD) and learning. We intend to provide a level of specificity that both offers sufficient guidance to novice CS teachers while allowing experienced CS teachers space for professional growth. This is critical because CS teachers enter the field from many different areas of specialization, and their preparation varies significantly. Each indicator is not an expectation of current knowledge, but instead a roadmap to help teachers from multiple entry points identify strengths and areas of need. We hope teachers use this information to seek out targeted professional development opportunities to increase their mastery. 
 

Purpose

These Standards are designed to provide clear guidance around effective and equitable CS instruction in support of rigorous CS education for all K-12 students. The purpose is to:

  • explain what CS teachers should know and be able to do in the classroom, 
  • provide aspirational goals to guide teachers’ professional learning and to continuously develop their teaching practice from novice to master CS teacher, and 
  • establish benchmarks for professional development (PD) providers as they craft CS PD experiences.
     

Photo of CS Teachers CollaboratingAudience

These Standards are designed for both novice and experienced teachers who primarily teach computer science. While we anticipate that many in the CS education community will find value in these Standards, we designed them for a few specific audiences:

  • Schools of education will use these Standards to develop new or refine existing pre-service programs.
  • PD providers will use these Standards to develop new or refine existing in-service professional learning programs.
  • State, district, and site leaders will use these Standards to develop pathways for certification and support their CS teachers in setting and meeting professional learning goals.
  • K-12 CS teachers will use these Standards to reflect on their own strengths and areas of growth, set professional growth goals, and identify targeted PD opportunities to meet these goals.

Future Work

The writing team envisions these standards as being a foundation for additional work. We expect and hope that other groups will create learning progressions from these standards to scaffold them for the diverse and flexible pathways through which teachers begin teaching CS and develop mastery of their craft. For example, others may develop benchmarks for pre-service teachers or define competencies to facilitate CS teachers in demonstrating their mastery of these Standards. We are excited to partner with others to advance this vision for high-quality teaching of K-12 computer science. 

License & Attribution

Creative Commons LicenseThese Standards are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).
 
Suggested citation: Computer Science Teachers Association (2020). Standards for Computer Science Teachers. Retrieved from https://csteachers.org/teacherstandards