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Communications of the ACM


Achieving CS for All Could Take Decades

Professor Mark Guzdial

Credit: University of Michigan December 21, 2021

My BLOG@CACM post last month was on the recent CS Ed Con (see the post at I was particularly interested in the new reports and data, like the 2021 State of Computer Science Education report ( Overall, 4.7% of U.S. high school students were taking computer science in 2021. The state-level dashboards are important because K-12 education differs significantly between U.S. states. Most of the state dashboards tell us current enrollment, but that does not tell us about cumulative effect. I am grateful to Jeff Forbes and Leigh Ann DeLyser for helping me think through some of these questions on Twitter.


Christopher Riesbeck

"We don't have to have everyone take a class in computer science... We can teach computing across the curriculum, and that is a better place to learn about applying computing in different contexts." In absolute agreement, Mark, that computing should not be siloed in a course - but the same goes for math, ethics, aesthetics, and reasoning from history, at the very least. Only basic reading and writing have evaded the trap so far. As long as subject-specific classes and exams are the normative model for curricula, everything will be forced into them.

Mark Guzdial

Hi Chris,

One way out of the normative model for curricula is to reframe computing as a literacy instead of a separate subject. Nobody is surprised to see equations in physics, biology, or chemistry classes. As you say, reading and writing is expected in all classes. We have to frame computing as a useful and sometimes necessary way of supporting other-than-CS learning goals.

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