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Which introductory CS course should we offer at our school?

Does South Carolina have state Computer Science Standards?

How should the K-8 CS and DL Standards be implemented?

 What documents contain information regarding CS Education in SC?

The following SCDE Documents provide information and regulations for CS Education for the 2018-2019 school year:

 Tell me more about the changes to the computer science credit required for graduation.

There have been many presentations and memos released regarding the CS Graduation Requirement. The following is the most current information as of January 2019.

What courses will count in 2019-2020?

Many versions of lists have been released over the last two years. The official, final copy was released in January/February 2019:

Jan. 17,  2019 – 2019-2020 Courses to Fulfill Computer Science Graduation Requirement (PDF)

Feb. 20, 2019 – Computer Science High School Graduation Credit - Memo (PDF)

Note, the last two pages of the above document provide guidance to school districts regarding which introductory course would be a best fit for their students.

When does the new list go into effect? Who does the new list effect?

The list above should be used starting the 2019-2020 school year for all students who have not yet earned their CS credit. Yes, if a senior has not yet earned a CS credit, they must select a course from the new list.

Additionally, to reiterate, this list is not for rising freshmen only, it is for all students who have not yet earned their CS credit.

What if my school or district is not prepared to implement the new list?

The SCDE is offering flexibility for schools and districts who are not prepared to transition to the new list for the 2019-2020 school year. They may submit an application to continuing offering a course from the 2018-2019 list (middle school courses are excluded) for the 2019-2020 school year. This special approval is valid for one year only. (Note, this can be helpful for districts who may encounter obstacles in securing necessary equipment or training personnel.) Applications are due to the Office of Career and Technology by February 28, 2019.

Appendix N: Historical Courses for a Computer Science Unit through 2018–19 (Note, Appendix O is no longer the most current list. See link above for 2019-2020 list.)

Computer Science High School Credit Application

 Is there any Computer Science Education related legislation in the 2019-2020 Legislative Session?

Computer Science education is currently included in the following bills for the 2019-2020 Legislative Session:

 Where can I learn more about the SC Department of Education's communications regarding Computer Science education?

The SCDE releases information through memos as well as presentations to various education audiences. Below, we attempt to compile these communications for your reference. Note, the documents below are listed for your records, however they may not contain the most up-to-date information regarding computer science initiatives in South Carolina.

District Memoranda Archive

SCDE Presentations

 Can you provide a historical timeline of events related to CS in SC?

Over the past few years, the SCDE has seen a big push from national and state government officials, business and industry, Computer Science (CS) and Information Technology (IT) vendors, colleges and universities, and students and parents regarding CS education reform.

Here is a timeline of notable events over the past few years regarding CS Education in South Carolina:

January 2016

CS education reform in SC directly aligns to President Obama’s national initiative Computer Science for All (CSforAll) which aimed to “empower all American students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science and be equipped with the computational thinking skills they need to be creators in the digital economy, not just consumers, and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world. Our economy is rapidly shifting, and both educators and business leaders are increasingly recognizing that computer science is a ‘new basic’ skill necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility.” You can read more including many statistics from parents, students, educators, communities and other stakeholders at https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/01/30/computer-science-all

July 2016

The SCDE convenes a committee to write elementary and middle school computer science standards.

August 2016

The SBE approved revisions to the Required Credentials for Professional Staff Members  allowing many different certification areas to teach Business, Marketing and Information Technology courses. More information available in this SCBEA Letter to Members.

November 2016

The SCDE and the Education Oversight Committee release a Joint Task Force on Computer Science and Information Technology report with findings and recommendations regarding Computer Science education in SC.

December 2016

The SCDE convened a committee to review the list of courses that fulfill the CS Graduation Requirement. Participants were asked to identify courses that would align with the CSTA definition of computer science that is recognized by the task force:

The Task Force recognizes the Computer Science Teachers Association’s (CSTA definition of Computer Science. CSTA defines Computer Science as “the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their applications, and their impact on society.”

Using the task force’s recognized definitions, many software applications courses currently approved would be defined as digital literacy courses, not computer science courses.

January 2017

The SBE approves Computer Science Certification area.

June 2017

The SCDE release Content Overlay support document for the K-8 Computer Science and Digital Literacy Standards.

December 2017

The SBE removes "Keyboarding" verbiage from regulation 43-234 (Defined Program, Grades 9–12 and Graduation Requirements).

The SCDE removes Keyboarding from the list of courses to Fulfill CS Graduation Requirement for the 2018-2019 school year.

January 2018

The SCDE convenes a committee to write high school computer science standards.

May 2018

The SBE approves the K-8 Computer Science and Digital Literacy Standards and the Praxis examination for Computer Science certification.

June 2018

The SC Statehouse Session 122 (2017-2018) legislative session closed with two pieces of legislation related to CS Education not passing.

House Bill 3427 – South Carolina Computer Science Education Initiative

At the close of the legislative session, this bill resides in the Senate Committee on Education.

Senate Bill 462 – High School Graduation Requirements

This bill attempted to define computer science courses as “courses that include computer design, coding or programming.” However, all verbiage pertaining to Computer Science was removed prior to the bill being passed.

August 2018

The SBE approves the Computer Science Standards for High School.

October 2018

The SBE approves Guidelines and Requirements for Adding Certification Fields and Endorsements including requirements to add Computer Science certification.

 Does SC have a Computer Science teacher certification?

Yes, the State Board of Education approved a Computer Science Academic Certification at the January 2017 board meeting.

Additionally, candidates with industry experience may be eligible for Information Technology certification through Work-Based Teacher Licensure.

 How do I get Computer Science Certified?

At this time, there are no colleges or universities in SC offering educator prep programs in Computer Science. So, initial certification is not available.

Certification must be obtained through out-of-state reciprocity or add-on.

Information about obtaining SC's Computer Science Certification as an add-on can be found in the Guidelines and Requirements for Adding Certification Fields and Endorsements. There are currently two pathways / options to obtain the certification:

  1. Bachelor’s degree or higher;
  2. Initial or Professional certificate at the early childhood, elementary, middle, secondary, or PK–12 level;
  3. Minimum qualifying score(s) on the content area examination(s) required by the SBE for the content area; and
  4. Completion of all required coursework with an equivalent of a grade of “C” or better.
  5. Required Courses
  1. Bachelor’s degree or higher;
  2. Professional certificate at the early childhood, elementary, middle, secondary, or PK–12 level; and
  3. Minimum qualifying score(s) on the content area examination(s) required by the SBE for the content area. (Note, the state's approved content area examination is the Computer Science (5652) Praxis exam.)

 What certification requirements are in place for computer science courses?

The 2018-2019 Required Credentials for Professional Staff Members contains the requirements for teachers for the 2018-2019 school year.

For the 2019-2020 school year, the following tentative timeline was presented at the Nov. 15, 2018 Instructional Leaders Roundtable:

 Are K-8 teachers required to be Computer Science certified to teach the CS & DL Standards?

No. The following statement was in the March 15, 2017 SCDE Memo "Updated on Computer Science Standards and Content Preparation for Teachers:

"Teachers and classified staff identified by districts as being responsible for teaching the South Carolina Computer Science and Digital Literacy Standards will not be required to obtain any additional certification fields or endorsements to provide instruction in Computer Science in grades kindergarten through grade eight since these standards will not result in high school graduation credit. While the SCDE is developing requirements for an optional certification endorsement in Computer Science for teachers who wish to pursue deeper learning in the content area, this endorsement will not be required for teachers and classified staff in grades kindergarten through grade eight teaching the new standards. Rather, the endorsement will afford educators seeking additional training in the content area an opportunity to have this expertise reflected on their educator credential."

 I would like to take the CS Praxis 5652. Are there any resources for studying?

Learn more information about the Praxis 5652 test at the ETS Test Website.

WeTeach_CS hosts an online Foundations of CS for Teachers: Praxis Prep course to help teachers prepare for the Praxis 5652 exam. They have had great success in Texas with this online course. Their recommended preparation steps are here.

 Which introductory CS course should we offer at our school?

There are six courses on the 2019-2020 Courses to Fulfill Computer Science Graduation Credit list that are introductory courses (without prerequisites).

As a general rule, Lowcountry CSTA recommends either Discovering Computer Science or Fundamentals of Computing for most students.

Discovering Computer Science

Students will be exposed to introductory computer science topics with an emphasis on computational thinking and problem solving. Students will be empowered to create authentic artifacts and engage with computer science as a medium for creativity, communication, problem solving, and fun. Students will create their own websites, apps, and games.

Fundamentals of Computing

This course is designed to introduce students to the field of computer science through an exploration of engaging and accessible topics. Through creativity and innovation, students will use critical thinking and problem solving skills to implement projects that are relevant to their lives. They will create a variety of computing artifacts while collaborating in teams. Students will gain a fundamental understanding of the history and operation of computers, programming, and web design. Additionally, students will be introduced to computing careers and will examine societal and ethical issues of computing.

AP Computer Science Principles

AP Computer Science Principles offers a multidisciplinary approach to teaching the underlying principles of computation. The course introduces students to the creative aspects of programming, abstractions, algorithms, large data sets, the Internet, cybersecurity concerns, and computing impacts. AP Computer Science Principles also gives students the opportunity to use current technologies to create computational artifacts for both self-expression and problem solving. Together, these aspects of the course make up a rigorous and rich curriculum that aims to broaden participation in computer science.

Fundamentals of Web Page Design and Development

Students will gain the skills and knowledge needed to safely and effectively use internet applications and languages to create and maintain web pages using a structured development process. Students will learn the HTML, CSS, and basic scripting in a language like JavaScript needed to create websites that are well-organized, attractive, universally accessible, responsive, and easy to navigate. They will also learn the technological processes, requirements, and legal ramifications for publishing their websites.

IT Fundamentals

Students will learn essential Information Technology (IT) skills and knowledge needed to perform common entry-level IT tasks. Students will learn to install, repair, configure, secure, and manage computer hardware, operating systems, and software in home or corporate environments. Students will learn common practices for troubleshooting a variety of computer issues and customer service techniques for assisting computer users with their respective problems.

Lowcountry CSTA also recommends the following courses for schools who are looking for other options for offering CS courses:

 Does South Carolina have state Computer Science Standards?

Yes, South Carolina has state standards for grades K-12.

In May 2017, the State Board of Education approved the K-8 Computer Science and Digital Literacy Standards.

In August 2018, the State Board of Education approved the Computer Science Standards for High School.

 How should the K-8 CS and DL Standards be implemented?

Local schools and school districts will be allowed to determine how best to implement  the K-8 Computer Science and Digital Literacy Standards into their instruction. School districts can determine if it would be best to integrate the standards into academic instruction by the primary grade level instructor and/or through a computer lab environment.