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Computer Science

Computer Science in Wisconsin

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Computer Science teaches students foundational 21st-century knowledge and skills like how to analyze data, how to program an app, and how the internet can be harnessed for business. Wisconsin students now benefit from academic standards in computer science and information and technology literacy that help them understand fundamental concepts to further their skills in today’s technological world.

Embedded in both the new ITL and Computer Science standards are the concepts of computational thinking and coding. These are the trending skills and knowledge that students need for careers today and for those that do not yet exist. It is crucial we understand how these concepts can integrate into schools across all content areas.

Computer Science

Wisconsin defines Computer Science as "an academic discipline that encompasses the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their applications, networks, and their impact on society."

This working definition of Computer Science draws upon these five core concepts from the Computer Science Framework :

  • Computing Systems
  • Networks and the Internet
  • Data and Analysis
  • Algorithms and Programming
  • Impacts of Computing​

Computational Thinking

A common connection between many academic standard areas in Wisconsin in K-12 education is computational thinking.  According to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and Computer Science Teacher Association (CSTA), CT’s K-12 definition includes:

  • Formulating problems in a way that enables us to use a computer and other tools to help solve them.
  • Logically organizing and analyzing data.
  • Representing data through abstraction such as models and simulations.
  • Automating solutions through algorithmic thinking (a series of ordered steps).
  • Identifying, analyzing, and implementing possible solutions with the goal of achieving the most efficient and effective combination of steps and resources.
  • Generalizing and transferring this problem-solving process to a wide variety of problems.

Overview of Computational Thinking

ISTE Computational Thinking Competencies

Computer Science Academic Standards

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The Wisconsin academic standards for Computer Science were developed by a statewide writing committee and submitted to extensive review by the public and the State Superintendent's Review Council.  State Superintendent Tony Evers adopted the standards in June 2017.

The Wisconsin vision for CS standards is shaped by Wisconsin practitioners, experts, and the business community, and is informed by work at the national level and in other states. This vision for K-12 CS standards and the CSTA CS Standards is intended to:

  1. Introduce the fundamental concepts of CS to all students, beginning at the elementary school level;
  2. Present CS at the secondary school level in a way that will be both accessible and worthy of a CS credit, or as a graduation credit;
  3. Offer additional secondary-level CS standards that will allow interested students to study facets of CS in-depth and prepare them for entry into a career or college; and
  4. Increase the knowledge of CS for all students, especially those from under-represented groups in this field.

Connected Content Areas

Understanding & Implementing Standards

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As with all the standards, the Wisconsin Standards for Computer Science may be taught and integrated through a variety of classes and experiences. Each district, school and program area should determine the means by which students meet these standards. Through the collaboration of multiple stakeholders, these foundational standards will set the stage for high-quality, successful, contemporary CS courses and programs throughout Wisconsin’s PK-12 systems.

For questions about this information, contact Mary Mooney (608) 266-9368, Julie Bormett (608) 266-7921