Trends In The State Of Computer Science In U.S. K-12 Schools

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Trends in the State of Computer Sciencein U.S. K-12 Schools2016

2Trends in the State of Computer Sciencein U.S. K-12 Schools2016Table of ContentsExecutive Summary 3Introduction 5Value of Computer Science in Schools 6Opportunities to Learn Computer Science 9Perceptions of Computer Science14Challenges and Opportunities forComputer Science in K-12 Schools17Conclusion 25About Google 26About Gallup 26Appendix A: Methodology 27Appendix B: Full Results 29Suggested citation: Google Inc. & Gallup Inc. (2016). Trends in the State of ComputerScience in U.S. K-12 Schools. Retrieved from reports from Google’s Computer Science Education Researchare available at

3Trendsin the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 SchoolsExecutive SummaryThis report presents findings from the second year of Gallup and Google’s multiyear, comprehensiveresearch effort to better understand perceptions of CS and access to CS learning opportunities in K-12schools in the U.S. More than 16,000 seventh- to 12th-grade students, parents of seventh- to 12th-gradestudents and K-12 teachers, principals and superintendents were surveyed for Year 2 of this study. Thisreport focuses on changes from Year 1 on key K-12 indicators for opportunities to learn CS (includingawareness of and access to CS), perceptions of CS, demand for CS, and challenges for CS in K-12 schools.Key Points»»Students, parents, teachers and administrators continue to value CS learning in Year 2. More thannine in 10 parents feel that opportunities to learn CS are a good use of school resources. »»While support for CS learning continues to be strong, all students do not yet have access to CSlearning opportunities in school classes. However, many get exposure to CS through schoolsponsored clubs or activities and when CS is incorporated into other classes at school. »»The vast majority of parents (84%) and majorities of teachers (71%), principals (66%) andsuperintendents (65%) say that offering CS is more important than or just as important as requiredcourses like math, science, history and English. A majority of educators feel that students shouldbe required to take CS in schools when it is available (60% of teachers, 62% of principals and 56% ofsuperintendents say this).More than three-fourths of K-12 principals (76%), including 88% of high school principals, say someform of CS learning opportunities is available to their students whether through classes or clubs.Six in 10 K-12 principals (60%) say their school offers at least one CS course. Schools with highergrade levels are more likely to offer CS, with 78% of high school principals in the U.S. saying theirschool offers a CS class.While CS learning opportunities are not universally accessible, they are increasing. Specifically,40% of principals in Year 2 report having at least one CS class available in which students can learncomputer programming or coding — up from 25% in Year 1. Principals at large schools (1,000 or more students), schools with higher grade levels (particularlyhigh schools) and those in the Northeast and West are more likely to say their CS classes includeprogramming and coding.

4Trendsin the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 Schools»»Although the majority of parents value CS, few have approached school officials to specificallyexpress support for CS in the classroom, and educators do not report that CS is a priority at theirschool/district, which may be hampering CS offerings. »»About three in 10 parents (28%) or teachers (30%) have specifically expressed support for CSeducation to school officials. While a majority of principals (56%) and superintendents (62%) haveexpressed at least some support for CS to their superiors, just one-third or fewer agree that CS is atop priority in their school or district. Principals at larger schools, private schools and high schoolsare more likely to agree that their school board is committed to offering CS and that their guidancecounselors think it is important to offer it.Similar to Year 1, schools report a lack of qualified teachers and funds as key barriers to offering CS.Additionally, schools continue to report that they have too many other classes that support requiredtesting for students, which may immobilize some schools from adding CS offerings, especially inlower grade levels. Sixty-three percent of K-12 principals and 74% of superintendents who do not have CS in theirschool or district say a reason they do not offer CS is the lack of teachers available at their schoolwith the necessary skills to teach it. Additionally, at least half of principals and superintendents(50% and 55%, respectively) note that they must devote most of their time to other courses that arerelated to testing requirements. High school principals without CS classes are more likely to cite a lack of qualified teachers (22%)and lack of student demand (19%) as the main reason for not offering CS than they are to cite toomany classes related to testing requirements (14%).Students, parents and educators in the U.S. continue to place a high value on computer science (CS)education, often viewing CS as important for students’ future success. However, access to CS learning isstill not universal in K-12 schools. Despite the lack of full accessibility, there are positive signs of growth,with more principals in Year 2 than in Year 1 saying their school offers a CS class with programming orcoding. Additionally, a variety of CS concepts, including computational thinking (CT), are being incorporatedinto classes at many schools.A companion report, Diversity Gaps in Computer Science: Exploring the Underrepresentation ofGirls, Blacks and Hispanics, focuses on exposure to computer technology and access to CS learningopportunities across underrepresented groups. Its goal is to identify the structural and social barriers thesegroups face at home, in schools and in society that could influence their likelihood to enter the CS field.

5Trendsin the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 SchoolsIntroductionCurrent National Outlook of ComputerScience EducationComputers, websites and the applications that enrichand help make our lives easier and more entertaining areubiquitous today. According to Common Sense Census:1Media Use by Tweens and Teens , the average Americanteen (aged 13 to 18) spends more than six hours per dayon computer media (including smartphones, computers,tablets or video games) while tweens (aged 8 to 12) spendmore than three hours per day on these devices. According2to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , the number of people inthe computer science (CS) industry who create and supportthese programs has grown 38% in the past decade and isexpected to increase to keep up with increasing demand.Further, some cities (such as New York City and Chicago),3as well as 28 states and Washington, D.C. , now require CSofferings for high school students, while others are addingCS learning to their core standards. As use of computersand online technology continues to grow, many in fieldstraditionally not directly linked to CS now have need formore advanced computer and programming skills for theirday-to-day job functions.Offering early exposure and opportunities to learn CSwill allow more students to learn foundational skills andconsider future learning and careers in the computingfields. To shed light on these issues, Google commissionedGallup to conduct a multiyear, comprehensive researcheffort to better understand these factors among students,parents and K-12 educators in the U.S.The findings from the first year of the study are in twoseparate reports. Searching for Computer Science: Accessand Barriers in U.S. K-12 Education examines studentexposure to computer technology, demand for CS inschools, opportunities for students to learn CS and barriersto offering CS in schools. The second report, Images ofComputer Science: Perceptions Among Students, Parents1 Retrieved from onsense-census-media-use-by-tweens-and-teens2 Retrieved from ttp:// table 102.htm3 Retrieved from;; icagos-publicschool-district/and Educators in the U.S., explores the confusion betweenCS activities and general computer literacy, perceptions ofCS careers, stereotypes about who engages in CS and thedemographic profiles of students who have learned CS.This report re-examines the key areas identified in thefirst year of the study, including perceptions about the valueof CS education as well as awareness of and access to CSofferings in schools, searching for directional changes inCS offerings. The focus is on identifying implications forschool systems, policymakers and parents to help studentsbecome more involved in CS before college.The companion report from the second year,Diversity Gaps in Computer Science: Exploring theUnderrepresentation of Girls, Blacks and Hispanics, focuseson access to and participation in CS learning opportunitiesamong girls and underrepresented racial and ethnic groupsto identify the structural and social barriers these groupsface at home, in schools and in society that could influencetheir likelihood to enter the CS field.In Year 2 of the study, Gallup interviewed nationallyrepresentative samples of 1,672 seventh- to 12th-gradestudents, 1,677 parents of seventh- to 12th-grade studentsand 1,008 first- to 12th-grade teachers via telephone inDecember 2015 and January 2016. Gallup also surveyednationally representative samples of 9,805 K-12 principalsand 2,307 school district superintendents in the U.S. viathe web. The data for all five samples were weightedto be representative of their respective groups, and allcomparisons between Year 1 and Year 2 data reflectweighted, representative data. Gallup researchers testedall differences noted (as higher or lower than other groups)between samples and demographic subgroups forstatistical significance and, in many cases, used models toensure that the differences noted are still significant aftercontrolling for other factors such as education and income.See Appendix A for more details on the methodologyand the sampling frames for each group. This reportincludes a selection of key findings from the second year ofthe expansive research project, including comparisons withthe first year.


7Trendsin the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 SchoolsLarge majorities in all groups continueto support offering computer sciencein schools and view its importance,on par with both elective and requiredcourses. Majorities of school and districtadministrators, as well as teachers, saystudents should be required to takecomputer science in school when itis available.To ensure a consistent understanding of whatis meant by “computer science,” the followingdefinition was given at the beginning of thesurvey: “For the purposes of this survey,computer science is the study of how computersare designed and how to write step-by-stepinstructions to get them to do what you wantthem to do. This often includes computerprogramming or coding as a tool to createthings like software, apps, games, websites andelectronics and managing large databases ofinformation. For the purposes of this survey,computer science does NOT include using acomputer to do everyday things, such asbrowsing the internet. Please keep this definitionin mind.”High Value of CS Learning Continues In Year 2Among Parents, Teachers and AdministratorsThe vast majority of parents (84%) and majorities ofteachers (71%), principals (66%) and superintendents(65%) say that offering CS is more important than orjust as important as required courses like math, science,history and English. About one-quarter of parents (24%)say CS is more important than these required core classes.These perceptions are similar to those found in Year 1(see Figure 1).Figure 1.OFFERING OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN COMPUTER SCIENCE IS MORE IMPORTANT, JUST AS IMPORTANT OR LESSIMPORTANT TO A STUDENT'S FUTURE SUCCESS THAN .REQUIRED COURSES LIKE MATH, SCIENCE, HISTORY AND ENGLISHYEAR 1YEAR 2PARENTS(n 1,686)64%21%TEACHERS(n 1,013)67%8% 75%PRINCIPALS(n 8,879)62%SUPERINTENDENTS(n 1,785)56%PARENTS(n 1,677)60%TEACHERS(n 1,008)67%OTHER ELECTIVE COURSES LIKE ART, MUSIC AND FOREIGN LANGUAGESPARENTS(n 1,686)85%YEAR 16% 68%6% 62%24%4% 71%TEACHERS(n 1,013)73%PRINCIPALS(n 8,879)77%SUPERINTENDENTS(n 1,785)69%PARENTS(n 1,677)84%YEAR 263%95%30%16% 89%14%15%29%91%84%92%TEACHERS(n 1,008)79%12% 91%80%10% 90%78%PRINCIPALS(n 9,776)63%3% 66%PRINCIPALS(n 9,776)SUPERINTENDENTS(n 2,233)62%3% 65%SUPERINTENDENTS(n 2,233)JUST AS IMPORTANT65%MORE IMPORTANT10% 88%

8Trendsin the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 SchoolsFurthermore, about nine in 10 parents, teachers andadministrators year over year say that offering CS is eithermore important than or just as important as other electivecourses like art, music and foreign languages (see Figure1). Parents with no college education are more likely thanother parents to say CS is “more important” than requiredor elective courses, suggesting that they see the hands-onapplication of CS as more applicable than other courses totheir children’s future. Black and Hispanic parents are alsomore likely than White parents to say CS is more importantthan required or elective courses. Additionally, virtually allparents (93%) see CS education as a good use of resourcesat their child’s school, up slightly from 90% in Year 1 (seeFigure 2).Educators Agree CS Courses Should Be RequiredIf AvailableFigure 2.% STRONGLY AGREE/AGREEOFFERING OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN COMPUTER SCIENCEIS A GOOD USE OF RESOURCES AT YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL.% PARENTSThe majority of teachers (60%), principals (62%) andsuperintendents (56%) either strongly agree or agree that“most students should be required to take a computerscience course if it is available in their school,” showingpositive support for such inclusion in the curriculum (seeFigure 3). Some states and school districts are starting to41support making CS a required curriculum in schools.Figure 3.MOST STUDENTS SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO TAKE ACOMPUTER SCIENCE COURSE IF IT IS AVAILABLE INTHEIR SCHOOL.60%20%62%56%20%20%93%90%40%36%% TEACHERS*% PRINCIPALS% SUPERINTENDENTS(n 1,008)(n 9,734)(n 2,299)*Teacher scale was “Disagree/Completely disagree” to “Agree/Completely agree”8%5%YEAR 1YEAR 2(n 1,686)(n 1,677)AGREE42%STRONGLY AGREEAGREEDISAGREE4 Retrieved from terscience-20140902-story.html


10Trendsin the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 SchoolsWhile many parents, educators andadministrators think computer scienceeducation is important, data showthat many students still do not haveopportunities to learn computer sciencein their school. Despite continuedaccessibility challenges, opportunitiesfor students to learn computerprogramming or coding show an increaseover last year.Figure 4.% PRINCIPALSAvailability and Participation in CSLearning OpportunitiesOverall, more than three-fourths of all K-12 principals (76%)report that their school offers some form of CS learning —through a course, school-sponsored club or after-schoolactivity, or CS content included as part of another class.While almost two-thirds (65%) of elementary schoolprincipals say some type of CS learning opportunity isavailable to their students, the number increases to 88%among high school principals.The percentage of seventh- to 12th-grade students whosay they have learned any CS (such as using programmingto create software, apps, games, websites or electronics)is relatively consistent from Year 1 (53%) to Year 2 (55%).The proportion of these students who say they learned CSin a class at school, however, increased from 73% in Year1 to 80% in Year 2, suggesting that increased CS classofferings in schools is leading to increased participation(see Figure B1, Appendix B).YEAR 2About how many different types of computerscience courses are available in your schoolthis year?Approximately how many school-sponsoredclubs or after-school activities that exposestudents to computer science are available tostudents in your school?As far as you know, is computer science taughtas part of any other classes at your school?HIGHEST GRADE LEVELTOTAL(n 9,774)5th and lower(n 2,783)6th-8th(n 2,617)9th and higher(n re than 54%1%2%8%At least 160%40%59%78%(n 9,750)(n 2,774)(n 2,616)(n 2,097)045%55%42%37%1-248%40%52%53%3-56%3%5%8%More than 51%1%1%2%(n 9,713)(n 2,762)(n 2,606)(n er any computer science learning as course, part of other classor after-school club

11Trendsin the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 SchoolsThe percentage of K-12 principals reporting that theirschool offers specific CS classes increased from 54%in Year 1 to 60% in Year 2 (see Figure 5). The reportedavailability and number of CS classes increases withgrade level, with three-quarters of high school principalssaying their school offers at least one type of CS class,compared with 41% of elementary school principals and58% of middle school principals. More than one-third ofhigh school principals say their school offers at leastthree different types of classes, compared with just 5%for elementary schools. Teachers report similar levels ofCS offerings in their school by grade, providing validity forprincipal reporting (see Figure B28, Appendix B).Figure 6.AVAILABILITY OF COMPUTER SCIENCE CLASSES% PRINCIPALSYEAR 1YEAR 2(Among principals with at least oneCS class)(n 4,700)(n 5,858)As far as you know, is computerscience taught as part of any otherclasses at your school? % Yes41%47%Approximately how many schoolsponsored clubs or after-schoolactivities that expose students tocomputer science are available tostudents in your school? % 1 or more59%67%Figure 5.ABOUT HOW MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF COMPUTERSCIENCE COURSES ARE AVAILABLE IN YOUR SCHOOLTHIS YEAR?% PRINCIPALSYEAR 1YEAR 2(n 8,811)(n 9,774)043%39%1-239%42%3-512%14%More than 53%4%At least 154%60%Principals whose schools offer CS courses also reportan increase in opportunities to learn CS through informal(extracurricular) programs, widening opportunities forstudents. Nearly half of principals (47%) with at leastone CS class at their school also report that CS contentis taught as part of other classes, up from just over twoin five (41%) in Year 1 (see Figure 6). About two-thirdsof principals with a CS class (67%) also report that theirschool offers at least one school-sponsored club or afterschool activity that exposes students to CS — an increasefrom 59% of principals in Year 1 who said the same.Principals Report an Increase in Classes WithProgramming or Coding, as Well as Robotics andArtificial Intelligence (AI)In addition to the increase in the percentage of principalswho report that their school has any CS courses,the percentage saying CS classes include computerprogramming or coding has also increased in Year 2. Fourin 10 principals in Year 2 (40%) report having at least oneCS class available where students can learn computerprogramming or coding, compared with 25% in Year 1 (seeFigure 7).Principals at large schools (1,000 or more students),schools with higher grade levels (particularly high schools)and those in the Northeast and West are more likely to saytheir CS classes include programming and coding (seeFigure B29, Appendix B).Additionally, 30% of principals report that opportunitiesto learn robotics or artificial intelligence using programmingor coding are available in their school, compared with 22%in Year 1. Sizable percentages of principals also report thatt

Trends in the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 Schools 2016 Table of Contents Executive Summary 3 Introduction 5 Value of Computer Science in Schools 6 Opportunities to Learn Computer Science 9 Perceptions of Computer Science 14 Challenges and Opportunities for Computer Science in K-12