Code.org, a national nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science education, with a priority for young women and other students from underrepresented groups, released its fourth annual State of Computer Science Education in the United States this month. The report is co-authored with The Computer Science Teachers Association and the Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance. The report finds some national momentum in challenging times, Minnesota however lags nationally on a number of measures.
Minnesota has taken an approach to computer science education that places computer science in each curriculum area’s standards as they are reviewed by the state. Code.org has a nine-point policy framework and tests states against their adoption of those policies. Minnesota is highlighted for the Department of Education hiring a STEM and computer science specialist with the hiring of Sarah Carter. Of the remaining eight policies Minnesota only meets one when it allows the substitution of a computer science credit for a math credit for graduation requirements.
In reviewing access to computer science in schools Minnesota has the least number of schools offering a standalone course among all 50 states. Minnesota has increased female participation in computer science courses by 1% over the past three years to 21%. The demographics of Minnesota students closely aligns with the student bodies of schools that offer computer science courses.
The authors point out that the need for collective awareness of “which students have access, which students are recruited into computer science classrooms, and which students are retained in computer science pathways”.