NYS Board of Regents adopts first-ever learning standards for computer science and digital fluency


A student listens to a live lecture on a laptop computer at home during a remote learning class in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. Illinois reported 1,337 new coronavirus cases Wednesday as the state’s positivity rate dropped below 4% for the first time in weeks. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) – The Board of Regents adopted New York State’s first-ever K-12 Learning Standards for Computer Science and Digital Fluency. These standards will ensure that every student knows how to live productively and safely in a technology-dominated world, including understanding the essential features of digital technologies, why and how they work, and how to communicate and create using those technologies.

The new standards are the culmination of a two-year, collaborative process that included New York State teachers and statewide experts on computer science and educational technology.

“Technology is a large part of children’s lives, and the ability to understand and use technology safely and effectively to learn, communicate and create is critical for 21st century life, work and civic engagement,” Board of Regents Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown said. “The COVID-19 emergency has magnified the digital divide that separates so many of our most vulnerable students from their peers. As the Board of Regents and the Department work to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education, it’s critical that comprehensive technology learning is available to our youngest students and continues throughout their scholastic career.”

Overview of the New Computer Science and Digital Fluency Standards

The New York State K-12 Computer Science and Digital Fluency Standards are organized into five concepts: Impacts of Computing, Computational Thinking, Networks and Systems Design, Cybersecurity, and Digital Literacy.

Each concept contains two or more sub-concepts and within the sub-concepts are a number of standards. The standards are grouped into grade-bands:  K-1, 2-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12. Students are expected to master the standards by the end of the last year of the grade band (ex: end of third grade for the 2-3 grade band). Visual representations of and graphics on reading the standards are available in the presentation made today to the Board of Regents

To comply with a 2018 statute requiring the development of Computer Science Standards, and to ensure that “students, teachers, and leaders will have clear standards for what students should know and be able to do with technology,” the Department worked with over 120 stakeholders in seven workgroups to create new Computer Science and Digital Fluency Standards. The workgroups worked on different areas and phases of the standards and included:

  • Authoring workgroup
  • Review Panel
  • Stakeholder Feedback Workgroup
  • Second Revision Workgroup
  • Executive Standards Committee
  • Early Learning Workgroup
  • Subject Matter Workgroup

The standards were approved by the Board of Regents P-12 Committee in January to allow the Department additional time to ensure the early grades standards are appropriate and to begin to develop resources and guidance to help implement the standards. For additional information on the new standards, please see the Department’s Computer Science and Digital Fluency website.

Early Learning Standards Review and Revision Process

In January, NYSED sent requests for educators with expertise in early learning to assist with reviewing and revising the early grade band standards. The Early Learning Review Committee was formed and included New York State-certified teachers and experts in early learning from across the State, as well as representation from New York State United Teachers (NYSUT).

In early March, the Early Learning Committee reviewed the standards and submitted feedback. Work on the standards was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the majority of the early learning experts assisting with the revision work were New York State teachers. Because of these circumstances, an extension was given to deliver revised standards to the Board of Regents for final approval.

The Early Learning Committee met weekly in August and September to revise the Early Learning Standards. In October, additional revisions were made to ensure alignment with the upper grade bands. The Standards were presented to the Executive Standards Committee in November for final feedback.

Stakeholder Input and Feedback

The NYS K-12 Computer Science and Digital Fluency Standards were developed and revised in partnership with numerous stakeholders. Care was taken to ensure participation by representatives of all regions of New York State, as well as key stakeholder groups, including:

  • teachers
  • administrators
  • business and industry experts
  • parents
  • representatives from higher education, BOCES, Big 4 school districts, and NYC Department of Education
  • members of various professional organizations, including New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), and NYS Association for Computers and Technologies in Education (NYSCATE)

Next Steps

The Department will return to the Board of Regents in Fall 2021 with regulatory and policy recommendations related to embedding this new subject area into the K-12 program requirements. Department staff will engage with partners across the state to develop guidance materials and tools to aid schools in the implementation of the new standards.

Timetable for Roll-out and Implementation

Adoption – Aug. 2021Awareness-BuildingRoll-out and building awareness of the new standards and timeline for implementation
Sept. 2021 – Aug. 2023Capacity-BuildingFocus on curriculum development, resource acquisition, professional development
Sept. 2023 – Aug. 2024Year 1 ImplementationAll credit-bearing computer science courses will be aligned with NYS CS&DF Standards
September 2024Full ImplementationCS&DF Standards implemented in all grade bands K-12
This timetable for implementation was approved at the January 2020 meeting of the Board of Regents and was formulated to provide ample time for teachers to become familiar with the new standards.

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