State board OKs computer science courses to satisfy math, science credits

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State board OKs computer science courses to satisfy math, science credits
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

In a voice vote with no nays heard, the West Virginia Board of Education on Thursday approved providing computer science courses that public high school students can take to satisfy math and science graduation requirements.

The standards revision creating those classes also establishes one middle school computer science course, Discovering Computer Science. It’s optional for schools to offer and, if offered, is optional for students to take.

Schools can opt to spread that course out over sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

The revision also establishes three high school computer science courses that are also optional for schools to offer and for students to take.

One is called Computer Science and Mathematics, which can provide the math credit, and the other is Computer Science — Introduction to Geographic Information Systems, which can provide the science credit. Students can take both to get both credits.

Geographic Information Systems, often abbreviated as GIS, generally deals with using computers to create maps.

Clayton Burch, chief academic officer for the state Department of Education, said students can already count Advanced Placement Computer Science A as a math credit, so Computer Science and Mathematics will be the first non-AP computer science course to count as a math credit. AP classes are generally more difficult than normal high school classes, but students also can earn college credits through them.

The third new high school computer science course, Computer Science in the Modern World, doesn’t offer a math or science credit.

The standards revision, which takes effect next school year, is an update to standards set in 2008.

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