Computer Science - Education


Some universities teach computer science as a theoretical study of computation and algorithmic reasoning. These programs often feature the theory of computation, analysis of algorithms, formal methods, concurrency theory, databases, computer graphics, and systems analysis, among others. They typically also teach computer programming, but treat it as a vessel for the support of other fields of computer science rather than a central focus of high-level study. The ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Curriculum Task Force "Computing Curriculum 2005" (and 2008 update) gives a guideline for university curriculum.

Other colleges and universities, as well as secondary schools and vocational programs that teach computer science, emphasize the practice of advanced programming rather than the theory of algorithms and computation in their computer science curricula. Such curricula tend to focus on those skills that are important to workers entering the software industry. The process aspects of computer programming are often referred to as software engineering.

While computer science professions increasingly drive the U.S. economy, computer science education is absent in most American K-12 curricula. A report entitled "Running on Empty: The Failure to Teach K-12 Computer Science in the Digital Age" was released in October 2010 by Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), and revealed that only 14 states have adopted significant education standards for high school computer science. The report also found that only nine states count high school computer science courses as a core academic subject in their graduation requirements. In tandem with "Running on Empty", a new non-partisan advocacy coalition - Computing in the Core (CinC) - was founded to influence federal and state policy, such as the Computer Science Education Act, which calls for grants to states to develop plans for improving computer science education and supporting computer science teachers.

Within the United States a gender gap in computer science education has been observed as well. Research conducted by the WGBH Educational Foundation and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) revealed that more than twice as many high school boys considered computer science to be a “very good” or “good” college major than high school girls. In addition, the high school Advanced Placement (AP) exam for computer science has displayed a disparity in gender. Compared to other AP subjects it has the lowest number of female participants, with a composition of about 15 percent women. This gender gap in computer science is further witnessed at the college level, where 31 percent of undergraduate computer science degrees are earned by women and only 8 percent of computer science faculty consists of women. According to an article published by the Epistemic Games Group in August of 2012, the number of women graduates in the computer science field has declined to 13 percent.

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