Computer science (CS) education helps students acquire skills such as computational thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. It has been linked with higher rates of college enrollment (Brown & Brown, 2020; Salehi et al., 2020), and a recent randomized control trial showed that lessons in computational thinking improved student response inhibition, planning, and coding skills (Arfé et al., 2020). Since these skills take preeminence in the rapidly changing 21st century, CS education promises to significantly enhance student preparedness for the future of work and active citizenship.
CS education can also reduce skills inequality if education systems make a concerted effort to ensure that all students have equitable access to curricula that provide them with the needed breadth of skills, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
This study will examine how England developed its CS education program. CS concepts have been part of the official English curriculum for over a decade, but reforms have encouraged wider participation in the last six years. Given that this is a relatively long period of implementation compared to many other countries' CS activities, this England case study can give us an understanding of how CS education activities can be improved over time.
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