Credit: PAT MAIO / EDSOURCE TODAY
Sarah Peters, an instructional assistant at Bryant School of the Arts & Innovation in Riverside, teaches basic computer science skills to all students at the K-6 school, for 40 minutes, once a week.

Updated  at 12:45 p.m., Oct. 18, 2016.

The next step in California’s efforts to introduce computer science standards into the school curriculum over the next few years came Monday as a national coalition of educators, academics, industry professionals and nonprofits unveiled a framework for states to adopt.

The framework grew out of a national effort to attract more girls and minorities into the underrepresented field of computer science. The framework is an essential step toward increasing the number of computer science courses offered as part of the K-12 curriculum. 

The national framework is something that individual states – including California – will have the option of approving in some form as they each work to develop their own standards to help guide how computer science is taught. 

“The framework gives the power to the states to figure out what kind of standards they want,” said Pat Yongpradit, chief academic officer at Code.org, a national nonprofit working to expand access to computer science and to increase participation among women and minorities. “The standards that are developed will be up to California. They can go many ways. They will be tasked with creating standards that are given to the districts.”

Code.org was one of several organizations that helped write the framework, along with the Association for Computing Machinery, Computer Science Teachers Association, Cyber Innovation Center and the National Math + Science Initiative.

The framework provides guidance, but does not define the standards themselves. The framework represents overall computer science ideas and concepts, such as what students are expected to have learned by the end of a course, grade level, or grade. To be developed over the next few years, they are not expected to describe any particular teaching practice, curriculum or assessment method.