New NSF Grant Enables EDC to Test and Scale Computer Science Course in NYC

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EDC has received a $5.4 million Mathematics and Science Partnership grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct an R&D initiative, Bringing a Rigorous Computer Science Principles Course to the Largest School System in the United States, that advances the NSF’s mission to broaden underrepresented groups’ participation in computing. Co-PIs June Mark, Al Cuoco, and Paul Goldenberg—with partners UC-Berkeley, the New York City Department of Education, CSNYC (NYC Foundation for Computer Science Education), and Haynie Research and Evaluation—will draw upon UC Berkeley’s Beauty and Joy of Computing course to develop a new course for high school students and scale it across New York City public schools. Featured in a White House Fact Sheet that spotlights new commitments to advance computer science education, the project is strategically timed. The College Board is issuing a new Computer Science Principles Framework and a new Advanced Placement computer science exam will launch in Spring 2017, providing impetus nationwide for districts to provide computer science courses.

June Mark notes, “One of the most exciting things about the project is the chance to make computing enticing to a diverse group of students and teachers. There really is beauty and joy involved. I think back to my own experience. After majoring in mathematics in college, I became a programmer because I loved the way that programming put mathematical ideas into action. In computing, the reasoning that you use is very similar to mathematics—UC Berkeley's Beauty and Joy of Computing course and EDC’s mathematical habits of mind approach mesh well—and you can use that reasoning to get programs to do things! One of the project’s biggest challenges will be designing the professional development. Because most states, including New York, don't offer a certification in computer science, high school teachers in NYC are not required to be certified in computer science to teach computer science. We’ll be working with teachers with a range of experiences and backgrounds.” The project will move into high gear in January 2015.

Last Updated: December 2014