This report by the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) provides an overview of the landscape of K-12 Computer Science (CS) education and teacher certification. The report builds on the 2008 effort by the CSTA Task Force that detailed the state of CS teacher certification and licensure. This report includes a summary of what teachers must know to be effective CS teachers including: subject and pedagogical knowledge, strategies for working with students from diverse backgrounds, and understanding all types of learners.
Chapter 3 focuses on the teacher certification landscape and includes a description of the different types of licensure/certification including: teacher licensure, teacher certification, teacher professional licensure, and teacher professional certification. The chapter describes the inconsistences across the 50 states with respect to credentials required to teach CS. It also mentions the complications that are unique to CS such as the inclusion of CS in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) track which, depending on the state, has varying degrees of “vocational” training that make it difficult to standardize the training and preparation for CS teachers.
Chapter 4 presents a study designed to answer these questions:
- What certification/licensing (if any) enables teachers to teach CS in middle school?
- What certification/licensing (if any) enables teachers to teach CS in high school?
- What other information about certification/licensure can be found and where?
The data collection did not include licensure/certification for elementary-school teachers. Data was collected from state websites or contacts with State Department of Education staff and through an online survey completed by 63 respondents from 39 states. The findings focus on:
- Terminology: Differences in terminology used by states including: endorsements, certificate, license, accreditation, and upgrade to refer to the credential, the curriculum area, and enhancements that teachers obtain during and/or after their original certification.
- Authority: Variances in agencies responsible for providing certification/licensure and determining which subjects teachers are qualified to teach and the educational requirements for qualification.
- Computing Courses: Differences in the degree to which courses are exploratory, survey, or application focused and whether courses count towards high school graduation requirements.
- Middle School Certification/Licensure: Courses tend to be survey or application courses taught by any middle school certified/licensed teacher, often mathematics teachers. Exceptions are seen when courses are in the CTE category which requires a CTE licensed teacher.
- High School Certification/Licensure: Courses in high schools were distributed among areas including Computer, Business, Technology, and Library Science departments. This leads to differences in which courses are required for teacher certification/licensing in varying states.
- AP and IB Courses and Certifications: Information Technology in Global Society and C S are the only two curricular areas in the IB diploma program while in 2012 the AP CS exam was administered in every state.
Chapter 5 reiterates the importance of CS teacher certification and licensure and reminds readers of the complexities of the policies that govern this work. The included recommendations focus on the certification/licensure system that accounts for multiple pathways into the profession and ensures that teacher have the necessary knowledge and preparation for success, including CS in programs aimed at preparing STEM teachers, providing professional development for inservice teachers and ensuring that administrators offer rigorous CS courses taught by qualified teachers.
In addition to references, the report includes a state-by-state analysis of CS certification and licensure and information regarding the inclusion of CS in graduation requirements.
Computer Science Teachers Association
Computer Science Teachers Association. Bugs in the System: Computer Science Teacher Certification in the US. Computer Science Teachers Association, available at: https://csta. acm. org/ComputerScienceTeacherCertification/sub/CSTA_BugsInTheSystem. pdf (2013).