June 29, 2016

CS Standards Reshape Education in Massachusetts

Massachusetts releases new computer science standards with help from EDC’s MassCAN

Computer programming, coding, and digital citizenship skills just received a major boost in Massachusetts classrooms thanks to the release of the state’s first set of digital literacy and computer science standards, crafted with help from EDC’s Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network (MassCAN).

“This is a really significant accomplishment enabled by a great collaboration between the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, MassCAN, EDC, and a broadly representative team of educators and business folks who developed these standards,” says EDC’s Jim Stanton, executive director of MassCAN. “This is a huge step forward.”

For the first time, teachers will have a comprehensive framework for integrating computer science into their instruction. The new standards, which are voluntary, also align with the new Computer Science Principles Advanced Placement course, which 15 schools in Massachusetts will begin to offer this fall.

To provide educators with additional skills to teach the new course, MassCAN will continue to offer professional development workshops for teachers and administrators. EDC is also building curriculum units that integrate computational thinking into elementary grade mathematics and science lessons and which are fully aligned to the new standards.

Stanton believes that schools, students, and industries in Massachusetts will all benefit from increased integration of computer science into grades K–12. He describes the new standards as “nation-leading” because they include both computer science and digital literacy skills.