News: SIGCSE Board Endorses AP Effort

SIGCSE Board Endorses AP Effort
The SIGCSE board encourages SIGCSE members to learn about the new AP effort at http://csprinciples.org and to explore the details of the effort and offer their attestation at http://www.collegeboard.com/html/computerscience/index.html.

Why?
The enrollment of students studying computing today is dramatically lower than needed to drive our information society. Current undergraduate computing enrollment is less than 50% of what’s needed to meet the expected computing jobs in the United States according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Computing is critical to innovation in today’s economy as the Rising Above the Gathering Storm report describes, but we have too few students learning computing to support innovation. We have an enormous need for more and more diverse students to meet the growing computing needs of our 21st century economy.

A key part of the problem is the lack of good and broadly accessible computing education at the primary and secondary school level. Research suggests that students emerge from high school without really understanding what computer science is. No wonder that students don’t choose to pursue studies in the discipline! We desperately need good computer science education available in many schools.

The ACM’s Special Interest Group for Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) is fully supportive of the efforts of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the College Board to develop, pilot, and deploy a new Advanced Placement exam, Computer Science: Principles. We agree with the goal to create a new AP exam that attracts a diverse range of students and introduces important computer science concepts, beyond the basic syntactic and semantic structures of a programming language. We are pleased to hear that the development methodology is based on the National Research Council’s framework to avoid the “mile wide and inch deep” problem of classes that have too much content and no real depth. We are confident that the resulting curriculum will meet the desired aims.

Thank you very much.

Renée McCauley
SIGCSE Chair