OSDE releases first public draft of academic standards for computer science

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 3, 2018) – In releasing the first public draft of academic standards for computer science, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) moves the state closer to joining only nine other states in the nation with computer science standards and only two others with grade-specific expectations.
“Coding is not only a universal language of the future, it is an art. Computer science is quickly becoming a field that affects every other discipline, from health and medicine to agribusiness and finance,” said Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Today’s competitive education must include a foundation in computer science. 
“The steps we are taking today to create computer science standards for every grade level position Oklahoma students and educators on the leading edge of an emerging job market that demands familiarity with computer science and rewards expertise in coding, programming and data analysis. By developing high expectations and creating opportunities for teachers to apply computer science concepts across the curriculum, we are ensuring our students will be ready for the most innovative, competitive and fulfilling careers of the future.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that computing jobs are the number-one source of new wages in the United States, and those jobs are widespread, with 67 percent outside the tech sector, according to a Georgetown University study.
The Oklahoma Academic Standards for Computer Science are currently open for public comment and represent the work of a team of three dozen educators from K-12, CareerTech and higher education across the state. Written for each grade level, beginning in kindergarten, the standards are meant as guidance for teachers to include computer science objectives in other subject areas, such as reading, science and mathematics, according to Levi Patrick, OSDE assistant executive director of curriculum and instruction.
“With this year’s kindergartners graduating in 2030, we must begin preparing students for a world of computing that goes beyond word processing and presentation software,” Patrick said. “We must also prepare students to create programs, develop secure networks and gather and analyze data on a large scale.”
OSDE hopes to help implement the new standards in part through a three-year, $1 million Computer Science for All grant, awarded through the National Science Foundation, to provide professional development to Oklahoma teachers.
A nationwide Gallup research study shows parents overwhelmingly want their children’s schools to teach computer programming, but only 40 percent of schools offer classes with coding or programming. In Oklahoma, only 3 percent of high school students currently take computer science classes.
Oklahomans are encouraged to provide public comment through Monday, Jan. 8, for the final round of revisions that will occur before the standards are submitted to the Oklahoma State Board of Education for review and approval. To read more about the development process and to provide input, visit http://sde.ok.gov/sde/computer-science-standards.
Last updated on January 4, 2018