With student interest in computer science (CS) on the rise, Marie desJardins, University of Maryland, Baltimore County associate dean for Engineering and Information Technology and CS professor, sees a great need to expand CS education in the K-12 grades.
"Often students who want to major in computer science...do not have the computational thinking or mathematical preparation to succeed in college-level coursework," desJardins writes.
She also cites a lack of sufficient effort among educators to widen interest in computing.
"The vast majority of students in the U.S. do not take even a single computer science course throughout their K-12 education," she notes. DesJardins partially attributes this to there being no states that have designated a CS class as a graduation requirement. Although many states are now striving to more deeply embed computing instruction within K-12 education, desJardins observes full statewide universal K-12 CS education remains nonexistent.
"Moreover, the standards that have been adopted by states focus more on low-level skills than on abstract computational concepts, and therefore do not prepare students well for more advanced college-level computing courses," she warns.
DesJardins points to a lack of qualified CS teachers as one limiting factor, while inconsistency in CS education standards across states is another.
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