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Standardized Tests May Be Holding Back the Next Generation of Computer Programmers

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Teach for America corps member Megan Stentz

Teacher Megan Stentz, a Teach for America corps member, works with a Northwoods Middle School student in North Charleston, S.C.

Credit: Google

Educating students to pass standardized tests, which command most school administrators' time, leaves little room for computer science classes to train the next generation of coders and scientists, according to a Google/Gallup study published this week. "It was the number one problem that principals gave," says Gallup's Brandon Busteed. "They're overwhelmed by what they need to be tested on" and do not have the resources to teach non-core curriculum subjects.

The study found about 60 percent of students in grades 7-12 said their schools offer dedicated computer science classes, while 52 percent said computer science is taught as part of other classes. However, those statistics differ significantly when accounting for race and income. For example, black students have less exposure to computer science, and only 48 percent of students from households that make less than $54,000 a year said they have access to dedicated computer science classes. Under-representation also was uncovered in schools with computer science on the curriculum, as three out of four principals said most classes focus on computer graphics instead of coding.

Google's Hai Hong says educators and industry should reach out to schools more and demonstrate the diversity of computer science professionals' backgrounds.

From The Washington Post
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