Defining and designing computer science education in a K12 public school district

Computer science is poised to become a core discipline in K12 education, however there are unresolved tensions between the definitions and purposes of computer science and public education. This study’s goal is to explore how logistical and conceptual challenges emerge while designing a comprehensive K12 computer science program in a public school district. While the policy infrastructure for K12 computer science education is rapidly developing, few districts have yet implemented computer science as a core discipline in their K12 programs and very little research has explored the challenges involved in putting ideas into practice. This study reports on a committee designing a comprehensive K12 computer science education program at a small public school district in California. Through a grounded-theory qualitative interpretation of committee-member interviews and board meeting transcripts, we surfaced three themes which were the primary points of tension: how computer science is defined, how it ought to be taught, and what process ought to be used to answer these questions. Grounding these tensions in the academic discourse on K12 computer science education, this study offers recommendations to other districts designing comprehensive computer science education and suggests future directions of computer science education research that will be most useful to stakeholders of these processes.

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Proctor, C., Bigman, M., & Blikstein, P. (2019). Defining and designing computer science education in a k-12 public school district. In E. Hawthorne & M. Pérez-Quiñones (Eds.) Proceedings of the 50th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE ’19). (pp. 314-320). ACM.


  title = {Defining and Designing Computer Science Education in a {{K12}} Public School District},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 50th {{ACM}} Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education},
  author = {Proctor, Chris and Bigman, Maxwell and Blikstein, Paulo},
  year = {2019},
  series = {{{SIGCSE}} '19},
  pages = {314--320},
  publisher = {{Association for Computing Machinery}},
  address = {{New York, NY, USA}},
  doi = {10.1145/3287324.3287440},
  isbn = {978-1-4503-5890-3},
  keywords = {computational thinking,equity,k12 cs}