An Analysis of High School Computer Science Education (HSCSE)
Chris Chan | Chris Estreich | Andrew Parker | Avichal Garg
overview statistics factors solutions interviews international findings
Overview An introduction and high-level summary of our analysis.
Statistics A collection of telling statistics pertaining to the current state of HSCSE.
Factors The identification of 4 principal factors that affect the breadth and quality of HSCSE.
Solutions An synthesis of several proposed solutions that address the 4 contributing factors we identified.
Interviews A revelation of the real-world conceptions of HSCSE through the eyes of 2 ACM SIGCSE leaders/3 high school teachers.
International A juxtaposition of the status quo of our domestic programs with the established programs of several other countries.
Findings Summary of findings, and an expression of each of our personal feelings on the matter.


"Okay, let's be blunt here; there is so much wrong with teaching as a profession right now it is hard to imagine why anyone might want to do it. Teachers in the United States are underpaid and overworked."

- Chris Stephenson

        There is a significant lack of computer science education at the high school level in the United States. Of the few high schools that do offer a computer science curriculum, programs are often inadequate.

    What are the factors that have contributed to creating the current state? Why should we consider the current state of computer science a relevant and pressing point of educational reform? What, if anything, can be done to affect change?

    We hope to provide an overview of the current state of computer science education in American high schools and a taxonomy of the issues and factors that play a role in allowing this state to persist. Through statistical analysis, empirical data, and interviews with educators and international educational reformers, we hope to isolate the most pressing issues plaguing computer science education and offer preliminary suggestions on how to go about tackling these issues.

A brief ethical tangent:

    Unfortunately it is out of the scope of this project to offer a robust treatment of the ethical issues that tie into HSCSE, but I wanted to offer an initial justification for taking action in this domain, because it has thus far been implicit in our discussions. Education is a universal leveling force in the sense that it has the capability to break down the social barriers that enable racism and suppressions of diversity. This point becomes particularly powerful and evident when you consider the ways in which university environments foster diversity through the propagation of discourse of among members of vastly different races, ethnicities and religions. A stated justification for the implementation of affirmative action programs is that the notion of diversity is so important to certain institutions, that it is worth bypassing a strict adherence to equal standards in order to achieve it. And in promoting that diversity we are promoting a progression whereby opportunities afforded to certain populations will propagate a movement towards equality. Education at the K-12 level has the possibility to stimulate such equality, but it is not contingent upon a dedication to a framework of unequal qualification standards; rather it is strongly felt that education is a basic right. Upon this realization (keeping in mind the pervasiveness of computing), the effort to provide an equal and robust foundational skill set for all students seems to be justified.