Archive for August, 2019

Montana CS Standards now exist

August 11, 2019

Two weeks ago for three days I participated in the committee to write Montana State K-12 Computer Science Standards. This was purely volunteer with no compensation.  The word for volunteers was just an email to principals to be forwarded to possibly interested people. I was interested so I was game. Interesting experience. Four high school teachers and three Office of Public Instruction (OPI) folks with some past teaching experience, again all high school although one had research experience with kindergarten.  I was the only one who taught CS as one of my primary subjects, the others had taught a little programming.  

Notice something?  K-12 standards, high school teachers only.  Opps. This is less than optimal. Personally I think Standards should be written by people familiar with the grade level and computer science.  What did we do? Looked on the internet at other state CS standards, CSTA standards and massaged them a little and POOF, Montana State Standards.  Given only three days and the available personel I think what we generated is not all that bad. The K-8 is a bit fuzzy and K-8 teachers may think they are impractical (or “Are you nuts!”) but it is what it is.  To do this correctly OPI needed to find teachers actually doing CS in their classrooms and pay them to take some time out of their summer to work. Three days also seemed a bit hasty. Something that may be used to build a school’s CS curriculum needs a bit more research, input and time.

Montana State now has a draft of CS Standards.  Something we did not have three weeks ago. It is a start.  Now if we can just get some teachers that can read the standards and know what they mean.  Oh well, can’t have everything.