« Half of High School Seniors Lack Access to Computer Science | Main | Virtual Reality-Equipped School Bus Lets Students Tour Mars »

To Up Student Enrollment in Computer Science, Ark. Offers Schools Incentives

Support for computer science education is on the upswing, but more than half of 12th graders attend high schools that don't offer the subject, we reported recently.

A growing number of states have put policies in place over the last few years to try to get more K-12 students taking computer science—with Arkansas being considered a leader in this realm. The state requires every public high school to have a computer science course.

But making courses available doesn't necessarily mean students will take them. Indeed, we know from the above-mentioned NAEP data that while 44 percent of 12th graders have access to computer science, just 22 percent of students say they've taken classes in the subject

The Arkansas education department is attempting to make headway here through a new incentive program. Last week, the department announced a "computer science enrollment contest," to begin in the 2016-17 school year. 

Through the program, the governor will recognize schools with the largest number of students enrolled in computer science courses, as well as those with the largest percentage of students enrolled. 

And one school will be selected by lottery to receive a "technology prize package" (contents TBD). Schools can get additional lottery entries by having more students enroll in computer science courses, hiring more teachers with a computer science endorsement, holding Hour of Code events, and publicly promoting the computer science initiative. 

It will be interesting to see if more states take up this kind of tactic to improve computer science enrollment (and also to see if it works). Though Virginia probably won't need to—it's the only state so far to have made computer science a requirement for all elementary, middle, and high school students. 

Related stories:

For more news and information on reading, math, and STEM instruction: 

And sign up here to get alerts in your email inbox when stories are published on Curriculum Matters.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments