Arkansas is requiring high schools to teach computer science, so we met with the Department of Education!
If you haven’t heard, Arkansas is now requiring high schools to teach computer science classes starting next year, in the fall of 2015.
As a major advocate of computer science education, this is very exciting. It’s a major challenge, and a problem worth tackling. Right now, however, there is not much computer science education in the state of Arkansas. However this measure pushed by Governor Asa Hutchinson is going to boost to teacher training pipeline, course offerings, and school movement towards offering computer science.
Arkansas Computer Science Basics
You can see the excerpt from Act 187 which requires schools to teach computer science and the classes they can offer. Schools can teach one of a few classes:
- The AP Computer Science in Java course
- The IB Computer Science course
- Essentials of Computer Programming (from Arkansas Department of Education)
- Computer Science and Mathematics (from Arkansas Department of Education)
On CodeHS we offer an Introduction to Computer Science Course and AP Computer Science Course which align to the AP CS and Essentials of Computer Programming courses for Arkansas schools. Schools looking for ways to offer computer science next year and get training can use CodeHS.
AP Computer Science in Arkansas
Here I’ve included the AP Computer Science score breakdown for the state of Arkansas. There aren’t many students taking the exam, 161 in the state of Arkansas out of 39,278 taken in total. There were only 17 hispanic students and 5 black students to take the AP Computer Science exam in Arkansas.
We met with some people in the Department of Education as well as in the Career and Technical Education to talk about the plans that Arkansas has to move forward with this plan. There is a big effort to improve opportunities for teacher training to allow students to take computer science classes. Additionally in the short term Virtual Arkansas will be offering courses online for students to take.