While many Wisconsin schools currently offer computer science classes, there are currently no established statewide standards for what those courses should focus on. Given the increased role of computers in the modern economy, the state Department of Public Instruction is looking into whether that needs to change.
“The subject area of computer science is booming,” says John Johnson, director of literacy and mathematics at DPI. “We have more and more students taking computer science classes. We certainly have a demand from business and from industry for graduates who are coming out of our high schools…with some experience in computer science.”
The DPI is seeking public comment through its website on whether or not the agency should develop voluntary standards, which would provide direction to schools on the key skills computer science courses taught in public schools should focus on.
Johnson says having such standards in place could help guide districts that don’t currently have courses, or that are looking to expand what’s currently available. “In an area like computer science there are some districts that don’t have computer science classes yet, and there are many parts of the state that may lack the expertise to develop a kindergarten through 12th grade set of standards.”
The state currently has academic standards in place for 27 subject areas.