Reimagining CS Pathways

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The Reimagining CS Pathways: High School and Beyond project will convene representatives from K-12 ed, higher ed, and industry in the U.S. to develop community definitions of (1) what CS content is essential for all high school graduates and (2) pathways for continued CS learning. We aim to:

  • Make recommendations for revisions to CSTA K-12 Standards and AP CS courses
  • Clarify alignment of and develop model pathways for CS courses, including content that fulfills a high school graduation requirement, introductory post-secondary CS courses, and AP CS courses

Timeline

  • Sept. 2023: Select participants.
  • Oct. 2023: Conduct focus groups and lit review.
  • Nov. 2023: Convening #1: Define what CS content is essential for all high school graduates.
  • Jan. 2024: Convening #2: Define what content and pathways for continued CS learning should exist for high school students and their postsecondary lives.
  • Mar. 2024: Convening #3: Refine our community vision for reimagining CS education. Develop recommendations for realizing this vision.
  • June 2024: Publish final report.
  • July 2024+: Disseminate and use findings.
Participants at the first convening organize and prioritize CS content that is essential for all high school students to learn.

We Need to Reimagine CS Education

Computer science education is rapidly evolving, due to a convergence of factors:

  • The recent K-12 CS movement has led to a population of secondary students interested in CS that are more diverse in demographics and interests and have more CS experience than previous generations of students.
  • There is a growing significance of and need for skills in high-demand topics such as artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), data science, and cybersecurity.
  • A burgeoning number of secondary students and postsecondary students is interested in minoring/majoring in CS or just taking individual CS courses in college.
  • States are increasingly adopting high school graduation requirements in CS.

We hope that this concerted and community-driven effort will develop a vision and inspire the proper infrastructure and supports to accommodate the evolution of K-12 CS education over the next five to ten years.

Foundational High School CS Content

This graphic illustrates the final product of this work. Dispositions (e.g., persistence, reflectiveness, creativity) surround all other elements. Five Topic Areas were identified: Computing Systems and Security, Data and Analysis, Preparation for the Future, Algorithms, and Programming. Crosscutting these five Topic Areas are Impacts and Ethics, Inclusive Collaboration, Computational Thinking, and Human-Centered Design.

We completed the first phase of our project, focused on defining essential CS content for all high school students. We gathered data from an in-person convening, focus groups, interviews.

While there was some variety among participants’ suggestions for essential CS content, there was broad and consistent support for emphasizing the development of an inclusive computing culture and exposing students to societal and ethical implications of CS. In terms of technical content, participants placed a higher priority on algorithms and computational thinking than on programming skills. They also emphasized the importance of AI and understanding career options that involve computing.

This graphic illustrates the final product of this work. Dispositions (e.g., persistence, reflectiveness, creativity) surround all other elements. Five Topic Areas were identified: Computing Systems and Security, Data and Analysis, Preparation for the Future, Algorithms, and Programming. Crosscutting these five Topic Areas are Impacts and Ethics, Inclusive Collaboration, Computational Thinking, and Human-Centered Design.

This report describes these elements in more detail, including specific knowledge and skills in each Topic Area that were prioritized by participants.

Project Leadership

Project Team
  • Bryan Twarek (PI), CSTA VP of Education & Research
  • Jake Koressel, CSTA K-12 Standards Project Manager
  • Dr. Monica McGill (Co-PI), Institute for Advancing Computing Education (IACE) Founder, President & CEO
  • Dr. Julie Smith, IACE Senior Education Researcher
Steering Committee
  • ACM: Dr. Tom Cortina, Education Board & Advisory Committee
  • Code.org: Dr. Jamila Cocchiola, 6-12 Curriculum Product Manager
  • College Board: Jocelyn Nguyen-Reed, Director, IT Pathways
  • CSforAll: Leigh Ann Delyser, Executive Director
  • CSTA: Bryan Twarek, VP of Education & Research
  • ECEP Alliance: Sarah Dunton, Director
Advisory Board
  • Dr. Adrienne Decker, Associate Professor, University at Buffalo
  • Deborah Seehorn, past Chair, CSTA Board of Directors & Standards Revision Task Force
  • Delmar Wilson, Teacher, Miami Springs Senior High School

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant No. 2311746. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.