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Inside the Classroom

Pennsylvania adopts computer science ed standards

Debra Erdley
| Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, 5:45 p.m.
Shaler Area Elementary School fifth-graders Carolina Tellado, left, and Alexzia Seng practice coding during Computer Science Education Week in December. More than 1,000 students  in grades four through six at Shaler Area Elementary completed an hour of coding practice in Code.org’s Hour of Code initiative.
Submitted
Shaler Area Elementary School fifth-graders Carolina Tellado, left, and Alexzia Seng practice coding during Computer Science Education Week in December. More than 1,000 students in grades four through six at Shaler Area Elementary completed an hour of coding practice in Code.org’s Hour of Code initiative.

After a year of debate, Pennsylvania's State Board of Education has approved a resolution to offer computer science education to all public school students in the commonwealth by endorsing Computer Science Teacher Association K-12 Standards.

Gov. Tom Wolf, who sought the change, applauded the move.

“Over the next decade, seven in 10 new jobs in Pennsylvania will require workers to use computers and new technologies in a constantly changing economy, and this move will help our students prepare for the workforce of the future,” Wolf said.

In the past, computer science offerings varied from school to school.

Last year, an informal survey found that about 50 percent of Pennsylvania schools offered computer science in some form, and most high schools offered it as an elective. Even so, experts said the United States stood out as the only English-speaking nation in the world that did not have consistent standards for education in computer science.

The resolution provides for the implementation of standards on computer science education and will position Pennsylvania as one of fewer than a dozen states to endorse such standards. Additionally, the standards will enable Pennsylvania to develop its Computer Science Certifications Pathways and will provide guidance on ways students can apply a computer science course toward a math or science graduation credit under Act 86 of 2016.

Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com or via Twitter @deberdley_trib

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