Happy Birthday, Grace Hopper!
Computer Science Education Week (CS Ed Week), the annual program designed to engage students of all ages in computer science is here! Each year we recognize CS Ed Week around the birthday of U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper (December 9, 1906), a pioneer of computing.
Last year, President Obama became the first President to write computer code as a part of Hour of Code at the White House and the Administration announced a host of public and private commitments to expand access to computer science education in K-12 schools.
This year, to kick-off the week, the White House hosted its first ever CS Tech Jam, bringing together educators, students, and developers to generate ideas to bring computer science education to the K-6 classroom. See the OSTP blog for more events.
It is also important to reflect on our progress as a Nation in expanding access to computer science education. A growing number of cities and districts, such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, and states, like Arkansas, have put plans in place to offer computer science courses to all students in K-12 public schools. A new Advanced Placement® test, Computer Science Principles, has been developed and piloted across the U.S. and will be available as an official College Board offering in Fall 2016. The CS10K effort, which aims to build the foundation needed to get engaging, rigorous academic computer science courses into 10,000 schools taught by 10,000 well-prepared teachers, is well on its way to reaching its goal. Finally, with the recognition that computer science offers tremendous career opportunities and enriches other technical as well as non-technical fields, undergraduate enrollments in computer science and computer engineering have reached record highs. Computing Research Association (CRA), the CCC‘s parent organization, has launched a CS enrollment study. Their findings will also feed a National Academies study on computing enrollments.
While much progress has been made, there is still a need to better engage all of our learners. The numbers of female students and racial minorities remains distressingly low. The percentage of female computer science CS majors remains very low, at only 14.1%, and several racial minorities are also significantly underrepresented (with African Americans representing only an estimated 3% of majors, and Hispanics representing around 7%) according to the CRA Taulbee Survey.
CS Ed Week activities and events are one way to increase the interest and engagement of all students in CS education.
What are you doing for CS Ed Week?