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Education Department to Begin Issuing Computer Science Certification

12/08/2020

Harrisburg, PA - Building on the Wolf Administration’s efforts to prepare students for a lifetime of success, the Department of Education is announcing the availability of the Computer Science Certification Test for educators seeking to become certified computer science instructors for grades 7-12.

“More than 300,000 jobs in Pennsylvania require STEM-related skills and there are at least 13,000 unfilled computer science related occupations,” said Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “In an effort to prepare our students to meet these demands, we need more educators trained in STEM and computer science instruction. The program framework guidelines will allow our educator preparation programs to increase the number of certified teachers who will be able to prepare our students to pursue careers in STEM industries.”

Computer science courses are currently taught by teachers with certificates in Math, Science, Technology Education, Business, and Computer and Information Technology. Educators are now able to complete a program that leads to Computer Science 7-12 certification. This new certification pathway, built on newly developed program framework guidelines released in December 2018, includes subject-specific competencies student teachers are expected to master and demonstrate as they begin their careers, including algorithms and programming, data and analysis, network communication and cybersecurity.

Certified educators can also add-on the Computer Science 7-12 certification by test and application. This provides for an immediate impact in the number of new computer science certified educators available in the workforce.

The program framework guidelines were derived from the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) 2017 student standards that were adopted by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education in December 2017 and provide a common framework for current instructors to teach computer science education in Pennsylvania schools.

“Computer science helps students innovate, practice computational thinking skills, create, solve problems, collaborate, and prepare for jobs of the future,” said Dr. Jessica Redcay, a Hempfield School District second grade teacher and ISTE’s 2020 International Computer Science Educator of the Year. “I am proud to be an educator in Pennsylvania because Computer Science is valued, and students are being empowered as they are provided with quality Computer Science instruction.”

Clarion University, Messiah University, and Swarthmore College have received approval for the certification program and can begin to admit prospective teacher candidates.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs please visit the Department of Education’s website at www.education.pa.gov or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kendall Alexander - 717-439-2973, or kenalexand@pa.gov.

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