Computer Science

Computer science is the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, hardware and software designs, implementation, and impact on society. Computer science education should focus on teaching students how to think computationally and create new technologies, not simply use technology.
 
The Minnesota Department of Education supports computer science education for all learners by providing guidance and technical assistance on implementation of Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards, current best practices, Multi-tiered System of Supports in Academics, and computer science policy administration.

Standards, Assessments and Graduation Requirements 

Minnesota does not have stand-alone computer science standards. The Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards set the expectations for achievement in every content area (Physical Education, The Arts, Science, English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Mathematics) for K-12 students in Minnesota. Beginning in 2017 computer science was identified as an important skill and each standard development committee has used the K-12 Computer Science Framework and the Computer Science Teachers Association K-12 Computer Science Standards to explore connections to their respective content area. Computer science content and practices are integrated at the benchmark level.
 
Within each Academic Standards document computer science integrated benchmarks are noted with either a single or double asterisk. The Minnesota K-12 Integrated Computer Science Benchmarks document includes only the computer science aligned benchmarks from each set of academic standards. The document will be updated as academic standards are revised and is intended to be used as a planning tool.

There are no graduation requirements for computer science in Minnesota. However, a computer science credit may fulfill a mathematics credit requirement, if the credit meets state academic standards in mathematics (Minn. Stat. § 120B.024, subd. 2(e)).

Recognition and Awards Programs

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are the nation's highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Two teachers from each state receive the award each year. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. Honorees receive a monetary award and a weeklong professional development opportunity in Washington, D.C. Visit the Presidential Awards for Excellence website.

Content Specialist Contact Information

For more information, contact Sarah Carter STEM/Computer Science Specialist, 651-582-8419, mde.academic-standards@state.mn.us.

Resources for Instruction and Learning

Frequently Asked Questions about Computer Science Education in Minnesota