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Fact Sheet

The future of computer science education

NSF priority: Building a computationally-empowered and diverse 21st-century workforce

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NSF supports the development of technologies that help students learn about computing.


December 8, 2014

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

A strong foundation in computer science--being able to apply foundational concepts, methods and tools--is required to excel in an increasingly digital and computational world. The National Science Foundation (NSF) leads the nation in supporting the development and teaching of rigorous and engaging computer science (CS) courses. In addition, NSF has a strong commitment to broadening participation in computing through evidence-based practices.

NSF's investments in CS education can be loosely grouped into the four categories below:

CS curriculum development

Access to CS at the K-12 levels remains extremely limited. In fact, the majority of U.S. high schools don't offer a single computer science class. NSF aims to address this shortfall by supporting the development of new rigorous and engaging CS courses. To start, two new high school courses have been built: an introductory course called Exploring Computer Science or ECS and a new College Board Advanced Placement (AP) course called AP Computer Science Principles.

CS teacher professional development

Professional development for teachers helps to expand the availability and efficacy of these new CS courses. Since 2010, NSF has led the "CS 10K" effort and has funded principal investigators to develop new curricula with the goal of training ten thousand teachers to teach computer science in ten thousand schools. More recently, NSF's partners, like Code.org, have agreed to expand this goal to include all schools in the nation.

Broadening participation in computing

Women, girls and minorities participate in very low numbers in computing. This amounts to a loss of talent, creativity, and innovation for the discipline. NSF is committed to broadening participation in computing by supporting efforts to build a rich knowledge base of the effective teaching educational practices for computing skills and concepts, with particular attention to those that are effective for students from underrepresented groups.

CS Education Partnerships

Through strategic partnerships, NSF is amplifying its CS education efforts. Working with other federal agencies, school districts, non-profits, foundations, private industry and others, NSF is expanding access to and student learning in computer science. These efforts aim to inspire and retain a diverse STEM workforce.

Throughout CS Ed Week, NSF will showcase innovative programs, projects and researchers supported by the foundation that are charting a path for the future of Computer Science education.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Aaron Dubrow, NSF, (703) 292-4489, email: adubrow@nsf.gov

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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