The California Department of Education (CDE), Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), and State Board of Education (SBE) started the process for developing new California computer science content standards in September 2016. As a result, the latest computer science standards were adopted on September 6, 2018.
Computer science as a foundational discipline that should be accessible to all students is a relatively new concept in K–12 education. Computer science is the study of how technology and computing systems are created and their impact on society. The standards cover six core computer science concepts (such as algorithms and programming) and seven core practices (such as creating computational artifacts and recognizing computational problems). By contrast, learning to type, word processing, and computer repair are not within the scope of computer science as defined by the standards.
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Explore the California K-12 Computer Science Standards
The California Computer Science Education Standards provide a structured and comprehensive framework that schools follow to teach computer science from kindergarten through 12th grade. They are intended to ensure that all students in California have access to a high-quality computer science education. The standards are designed to be rigorous, inclusive, and grounded in both the principles of computer science and the pedagogical needs of California students and teachers.
The standards are divided into several core concepts, including:
- Computing Systems
- Networks and the Internet
- Data and Analysis
- Algorithms and Programming
- Impacts of Computing
Each core concept is further broken down into specific learning objectives and performance expectations for each grade band (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12).
Kindergarten to Grade 2:
- Students are introduced to the basics of computing systems and programming and learn about the societal impacts of computing.
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Grade 3 to Grade 5:
- Students explore more advanced topics, such as networks, internet, and basic data analysis, while deepening their understanding of algorithms and programming.
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Grade 6 to Grade 8:
- Students delve into more complex topics like system relationships, internet connections, data collection and representation, and develop more advanced programming skills.
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Grade 9 to Grade 12:
- High school students are expected to have an advanced understanding of all the core concepts, with opportunities for more specialized study, such as in computer science principles or computer science A (AP Courses).
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7 Core Practices
The computer science core practices help develop lifelong learners that persevere in the processes of creative problem solving in a way that promotes inclusion and celebrates diversity, and include:
- Fostering an Inclusive Computing Culture
- Collaborating Around Computing
- Recognizing and Defining Computational Problems
- Developing and Using Abstractions
- Creating Computational Artifacts
- Testing and Refining Computational Artifacts
- Communicating About Computing
The goal of these standards is not just to teach students how to use technology but also to foster computational thinking skills, allowing students to understand how to approach problems in a systematic way. They are designed to be inclusive and accessible, promoting diversity and equity in computer science education, ensuring all students, regardless of their background, have the opportunity to learn computer science.
Discover the California K-12 Computer Science Standards
For specific details, performance expectations, and grade-level standards, refer to the official California Computer Science Standards document provided by the California Department of Education. To help your student master computer science, check out the best coding classes for kids.