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News release - State Board reviews proposed standards for voluntary high school computer science

Dec. 13, 2017

State Board reviews proposed standards for voluntary high school computer science

DENVER - At its regular meeting, the Colorado State Board of Education reviewed the proposed new computer science standards as well as proposed revisions to academic standards in visual arts and world languages.

State law requires the Colorado Academic Standards to be reviewed and revised every six years, beginning with the current revision due by July 2018. The process of reviewing and revising the standards has been underway for more than a year, with committees, surveys, and online feedback opportunities all designed to closely examine the grade-by-grade expectations in 10 content areas and English language proficiency. In addition, new voluntary high school computer science standards are also being developed.

Districts will have the option of adopting the voluntary high school computer science standards, which will identify the knowledge and skills secondary students should have, including coding. Districts may also allow computer science courses to count toward mathematics or science graduation requirements. The computer science standards committee proposed that the voluntary standards be written for ninth through 12th grade, rather than for specific grade levels. Based on public feedback collected so far, the committee proposed three areas within the computer science standards: computational thinking, computing systems and networks, and computer programming.

The last public comment feedback window for all content areas of the Colorado Academic Standards closed on Dec. 4. More than 1,500 educators, school and district leaders, parents, elected officials, students, faculty at institutions of higher education, education organizations and community members provided feedback.

CDE staff will organize all feedback and post to the CDE website on Jan. 8. The committees have posted resources, including summaries and complete lists of the proposed revisions. Final recommendations will be brought to the board for approval beginning in the spring and ending on or before July 1.

Colorado English Language Learner Educator Professional Development Pathways

In Spring 2017, the State Board of Education directed staff to work with an English Language Learners (ELL) Stakeholder Group to make recommendations regarding professional development pathways for new and current teachers who work with English learners. Colorado now has the sixth-highest number of English language learners in the country.

CDE staff presented six options for the board to consider. The options offered flexibility for educators and included strategies that could be district led, online, embedded in educator preparation programs, offered through third parties and based on experience.

After considering all the options, the board directed staff to draft proposed rules based on two options:

  • Embedding English Language Learner requirements in all Colorado-approved educator preparation programs, and
  • Requiring core teachers who serve in districts with higher percentages of English learners to have professional development on strategies for serving English learners.

Additional opportunities for the public and educators to provide feedback will be provided as soon as the rules are drafted.

Update from the Student-Council Accountability Project

In 2015, the board voted to endorse the Student-Centered Accountability Project (S-CAP) developed by a collaboration of rural school districts working to develop a supplemental accountability system that more closely reflects local priorities. Superintendents Lisa Yates from Buena Vista, Rob Sanders from Buffalo-Merino, John McCleary from Holyoke, Robert Framel from Kit Carson, Bree Lessar from La Veta and Bob Webb from Monte Vista presented an update to the board.

The S-CAP districts set their own priorities based on local needs and hold themselves accountable. The priorities are informed by qualitative reviews they conduct of each others systems, which provide feedback and suggestions for priorities. It does not replace the existing accountability system. To learn more visit the S-CAP website.

The board also took the following actions: