State Board adopts K-12 Computer Science academic standards

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In June, the state legislature voted to add computer science as a core K-12 subject. This week, the New Hampshire State Board of Education, which is responsible for recommending statewide academic standards, adopted the standards that will guide districts in developing the required curriculum.

Part 1 of the standards, “Context and Guidance,”  provides additional clarification about the relationship between digital literacy and computer science, how computer science relates to STEM and other disciplines, and recommendations for developing or strengthening programs.  Part 2 is the grade-band standards.

The New Hampshire Department of Education is now working on the implementation of the requirement, with a target date of 2020 for districts to have programs in place.

According to the draft standards, computer science includes five core concept areas: computing systems, networks and the Internet, data and analysis, algorithms and programming, and impacts of computing. The standards emphasize project-based and problem-based learning, 21st-century skills like communication and collaboration, and personalized learning through competency-based assessments (like portfolios and project-based learning).

In K-6, the adopted standards recommend integrating computer science units as part of the existing library or special art classes, focusing on blocks-based programming tools and emphasizing social and emotional learning, patterns, problem-solving, representation, and sequencing.

For middle school grades, the adopted standards recommend allowing students to explore computer science in-depth with at least one computer science course or engineering course per academic year. In grades 6-8, that includes text-based programming tools, design projects that combine hardware and software components, coding, and encryption.

In high school, they recommend requiring all students to take at least one 1/2 credit computer science course, while offering electives for those who want to explore more and identifying Career and Technical Education programs that advance students’ exposure to technology. Electives may include courses on artificial intelligence, data structures, or cultural impacts of technology and innovation.

The New Hampshire Computer Science State Plan included some sample curricula:

Read more about the standards and find additional resources on the NH DOE webpage.

Interested in learning more about New Hampshire’s academic standards, what they mean for your child, and how they relate to curriculum? Check out our Standards, Curriculum, and Assessment resource page and download our infographic!