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Computer Science Teacher Certification 'deeply Flawed,' Report Says


The logo of the Computer Science Teachers Association.

A new report finds the certification systems for computer science teachers in most U.S. states are fundamentally flawed and present a major obstacle to preparing students for employment in the technology field.

Credit: Computer Science Teachers Association

State systems for certifying computer science teachers are fundamentally flawed, creating a major obstacle to ensuring that high-quality educators can prepare students for employment in the technology field, according to a report (http://csta.acm.org/ComputerScienceTeacherCertification/sub/CSTA_BugsInTheSystem.pdf) from the Computer Science Teachers Association.

"Computer science teacher certification across the nation is typified by confounding processes and illogical procedures--bugs in the system that keep it from functioning as intended," the report says.

The situation contributes to students not entering computer science, a field that will offer 4.6 million jobs by 2020. "The information technology and computing industry cannot find the talent it needs to fill lucrative positions across the country," the report notes. "These companies want more young people to discover computer science and study it, and the country's economic fortunes depend on it."

Among the report's findings is the fact that only two states, Arizona and Wisconsin, require computer science certification to teach any computer science course; in many states, "teachers with little or no computer science knowledge can teach it," the report says.

The report offers several policy recommendations, including the creation of a certification/licensure system that ensures that all computer science teachers have appropriate knowledge, and accounts for teachers coming to the discipline from multiple pathways. In addition, it suggests teacher-preparation institutions and organizations should be required to include programs to prepare computer science teachers.

From Education Week
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