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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Contact:Jacqueline Reis, 781-338-3115

Massachusetts Adopts New Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards

MALDEN - The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted unanimously today to adopt new digital literacy and computer science standards, giving the state's public school students their first statewide computer science curriculum framework. Massachusetts is ahead of most other states in developing computer science standards and is an innovator in explicitly integrating those with standards for digital literacy.

"I'm thrilled to have been part of this historic vote, which came after the state worked with a range of educators and industry representatives to make these standards relevant to today's students," said Education Secretary James A. Peyser. "Our next step is to see how we can help develop the capacity to incorporate these standards more fully into the K-12 curriculum."

"Today's vote recognizes the importance of digital literacy and computer science to modern life, work and learning," said Paul Sagan, chairman of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. "These standards will help our students think about problem solving in new ways and introduce them to valuable skills they will need in today's economy."

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE), Massachusetts educators and industry representatives developed the voluntary curriculum framework, which includes standards, and made revisions after gathering comment from the public and the Board. In addition to computer science, the standards included updated expectations for digital literacy, such as appropriate online behavior, how to avoid online safety hazards, and the importance of reporting cyberbullying.

The team that worked on the standards also took care to align the new standards with those the state already has in English language arts, science and mathematics.

The new digital literacy and computer science standards are intended to prepare all students to engage with technology in the context of civic life, college and work.

"Children can begin to grasp and build on the principles of computer science at a very young age," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "I hope schools in the Commonwealth will carefully consider how these standards can connect to other subjects and give students important and engaging new areas to explore."

Schools could begin using the new standards as soon as this September, and ESE will continue to collaborate with the Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network (MassCAN) to help districts implement the standards. In addition, ESE is partnering with the Education Development Center (EDC) on a $2.1 million, three-year National Science Foundation STEM+C Design and Development grant to develop elementary school curriculum units that integrate computational thinking in mathematics and science lessons.

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Last Updated: June 28, 2016
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