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California Computer Science Standards - Introduction
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Subsection Links
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Vision
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Why Computer Science?
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Issues of Equity
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Problem Solving and the 4 Cs
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What is Computer Science?
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“Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.”
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Anonymous, at times attributed to Edsger Dijkstra, 1970
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Vision
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The California Computer Science Standards (hereafter referred to as “the standards”)
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are based on computer science core concepts and core practices, aligned to the K12
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Computer Science Framework at https://k12cs.org/. The standards were developed by
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educators (members of the State Board of Education-appointed Computer Science
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Standards Advisory Committee), utilizing work done by the Computer Science Teachers
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Association. The standards are designed to be accessible to each and every student in
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California. The standards inform teachers, curriculum developers, and educational
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leaders to ensure all students receive quality computer science instruction. Each
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standard includes a descriptive statement as well as examples for classroom
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application. Examples are not meant to be prescriptive nor compulsory. Rather, they are
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designed as general suggestions. Educators are encouraged to design computer
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science learning experiences according to their local capacity and context, to meet the
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needs of their students. Computer science core concepts and practices in the standards
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are vertically aligned, coherent across grades, and designed in developmentally
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appropriate grade spans K2, 35, 68, and 912. The K12 standards are referred to
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as core. The 912 grade span also includes an additional set of standards, referred to
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as 912 Specialty, which provides options for extending a pathway in computer science
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with content containing increased complexity and depth. The 912 Specialty standards
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may be used to create electives that are outside an introductory course. As students
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progress through the standards from grades K12, they build conceptual knowledge
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through active engagement in creative problem solving activities with an awareness of
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cultural and societal contexts.
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Computers have been used in classrooms across the state for many years. However,
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students have often taken a passive role as mere users of these devices. The standards
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empower students to deepen their understanding of computer science as they explore
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core concepts including: the composition of computing systems (CS), the connective
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power of networks and information systems (NI), the informational potential of data and
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analysis processing (DA), the development of algorithms and programming (AP), and
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the impacts of computing on culture and society (IC). These core concepts provide
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foundational knowledge on key ideas, which build upon each other as students progress
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through grade spans. The computer science core concepts are covered in greater detail
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in the What is Computer Science? section of the introduction to the standards.
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The computer science core concepts are infused with purpose and relevance via the
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computer science core practices. The core practices focus on how students interact with
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computer science, the ways in which they apply conceptual knowledge. It is these core
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practices that enable students to experience computer science as a creative process,
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moving them past the role of users of computing technology toward active creators and
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innovators, engaged with computer science as an artistic and collaborative endeavor.
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As students engage in the computer science core practices, they learn to persevere in
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solving authentic, community-based problems, grounded in computer science core
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concepts. The computer science core practices, covered in greater detail in the What is
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Computer Science? section, include: (1) Fostering an Inclusive Computing Culture, (2)
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Collaborating Around Computing, (3) Recognizing and Defining Computational
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Problems, (4) Developing and Using Abstractions, (5) Creating Computational Artifacts,
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(6) Testing and Refining Computational Artifacts, and (7) Communicating About
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Computing. Standards integrate computer science practices with concept statements.
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Practice
+ Concept
= Standard
Creating Computational Artifact
The process of developing
computational artifacts embraces
both creative expression and the
exploration of ideas to create
prototypes and solve
computational problems. Students
create artifacts that are personally
relevant or beneficial to their
community and beyond.
Computational artifacts can be
created by combining and
modifying existing artifacts or by
developing new artifacts.
Computing Systems
Hardware and software
determine a computing
system’s capability to store
and process information. The
design or selection of a
computing system involves
multiple considerations and
potential tradeoffs, such as
functionality, cost, size, speed,
accessibility, and aesthetics.
By the end of Grade 8, Sub-
Concept Hardware & Software
6-8.CS.2
Design a project that
combines hardware and
software components to
collect and exchange
data.
The standards contain significant themes, as referenced in the K12 Computer Science
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Framework at https://k12cs.org/. These themes include:
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