Montana CS Standards sort of.

We are getting ready to review our Practical Arts curriculum which includes Computer Science so I figured I should take a look at the Montana State CS Standards.  Montana is just getting around to adopting some standards for CS.  I was on the original committee about four years ago to get an outline started. Something happened between then and now.  The Standards now read like a wordsmith and the MIT computer science department got together to whip up everything that would be perfect in a college curriculum.  Some of the goals are just plain stupid.  I love this one – “evaluate the ways computing technologies impact American Indian communities in Montana”.  This is something high school students are supposed to do?  Looks more like something a committee appointed by the Governor would attempt to research.  There are a lot like this.  I have looked at several other State’s standards.  Some are actually practical and useful for a CS teacher to build a curriculum around, others are like this Montana gobbledygook bs document.  Pure eye wash.  The Standards should be a simple tool for a CS department or teacher to build a program around, not an idealistic, impossible to understand set of tasks that sound really cool if you want to impress someone who does not know what you are talking about.  The Standards should make sense to people without advanced CS degrees.  Like most CS teachers.  Here is another sweet one – “use data analysis tools and techniques to identify patterns in data representing complex systems”.  I think I know what this means but am not positive.  Is this something done in a high school?  I am not talking about a technology magnet school, but a high school in Montana where the number of CS teachers with a CS degree can be counted on one hand.  I really wish I had something that I did not have to look closely at every line and try to figure out what it meant.

One Response to “Montana CS Standards sort of.”

  1. alfredtwo Says:

    I’ve been involved in standards writing in several states as well as the K-12 CS Framework, and the CS2013 report (CS for undergraduate programs). There is a lot of give and take in all of these processes. Lots of compromise and no small amount of politics. The nit picky wordsmithing on some of them drove me crazy (short trip). I toy with writing my own document but no one would take it unchanged anyway.

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