Friday, September 29, 2017

Who Says There Is No Room for More Computer Science

People keep asking me what required course I would remove to make room for a required computer science course. So I decided to take a look at current requirements for graduation in my home of New Hampshire. This is what I found:

From the state itself:

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20 credits? Five classes a day? And 6 of those credits are elective? Seems like a lot of room to me. Now of course in New Hampshire local school have a lot of control so I looked into the local public high school.

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Twelve and a half elective requirements. Seems like an additional credit of CS could be added without having fewer of any other required courses.

I teach at a private Catholic high school that requires 4 credits of Religion and still have room for a full year computer science requirement.

So where is the problem fitting in a required computer science course?

4 comments:

Mike Zamansky said...

First, let me say that I agree with you - there's room as long as you make it.
I've laid out designs for a variety of high school programs all with plenty of room for CS and all conforming to NY State requirements.

That said, even though there is room, it isn't quite that simple.

Let's assume an 8 period day.

Every year you need:

1 period English
1 period lunch
1 period Phys Ed

We're left with 5 to play with.

Three and a half of the years have history and one credit health so we're left with 4 free a day.

You have 3 years of math but at a low performing school with a
population that's behind you might have 2 yaers or a double
period of algebra and then the failure rate of Geometry can be
high so kids have to repeat.

We're down to 3.

Science? I don't remember how many years are required in NY but you need a lab component so the years you have science will burn more than one period.

Foreign langauage? That's another period for a couple of years.

And with all this, remember what I said about the repeaters who fail geomoetry -- repeaters in any subject throw a wrench in the works.

So, if we're talking an on or above grade level population it's easy to fit CS in the program. When you're talking about a more at risk population it does get harder.

Jeff Yearout said...

Here at my high school in Kansas, we have the following requirements. We use a standard 4x4 block schedule, so students have 8 credits possible over the course of the year. Most of these broad areas have more specific requirements within. Now this is only 25 credits, and if you don't graduate early after your junior year (possible by taking a summer for credit course), you would have as many as 32 credits available. So we definitely would have space in the schedule. We are 1:1 with Chromebooks, so that would create one limiting factor. The other would be instructors for it, of course.

4 credits in ELA
3 credits in Math
3 credits in Science
3 credits in Social Studies
1.5 credits in PE
1 credit in Fine Arts
9.5 credits in Electives (there is one course freshman take called Reality 101 that is required but falls under electives)

Garth said...

The "it will not fit" argument is obviously ridiculous. We are a private school where the kids take four years of about everything and there is still room for a year of required CS/tech. My question is what should be offered for that year of CS? When we CS teachers say "a year of CS", what do we mean? My school has three basic options, each one semester long. The kids minimally take two. An apps class (Office, Photoshop, odds and ends), a tech class (hardware, internet safety, basic networking) or Programming I. Experienced kids can opt out of all and take a higher level offering if they can prove their ability. To me this fits the intent.

Ben Smith said...

At our private school we end up with the following classes for an average student:

7 class schedule / 4 years = 28

4 years science
4 years English
4 years math
4 years history
3 years language (most take 4 )
4 years required health (2) religion (1) ethics (1)
2 years art
2 years PE
That leaves 1 year CS unless you want to take that extra class of any kind.

See why I'm fighting an uphill battle to get 1/2 year required?