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ACM Education Policy Group Applauds Use of Computing Course to Meet Math Requirement

Achieve, Inc., Dana Center Develop List of Rigorous Fourth-Year Courses for High School Seniors

Contact: Sara Appleyard

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June 12, 2008, New York, NY –As a major endorsement of the importance of computer science education in today’s K-12 classrooms, an independent review conducted by the Dana Center and Achieve, Inc. selected Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science A as meeting its high standards for a fourth-year, post-Algebra II, mathematics capstone course for high school seniors. The Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Education Policy Committee and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) applaud the recommendation for this rigorous computing course to be offered to high school students to maintain the necessary momentum of their mathematics education in that crucial fourth year.

Achieve and the Charles A. Dana Center at University of Texas-Austin collaborated on this web-based effort to offer tools and resources to mathematics educators to ensure that K-12 mathematics education prepares students for college and careers, including fourth year high school or "capstone" courses. More information about the capstone courses, as well as the other resources, can be found on the Dana Center's Mathematics Benchmarks site.

"Achieve and the Dana Center's selection of a computing course as a capstone for high school students communicates computing's important place among higher-level STEM education courses," stated Chris Stephenson, executive director of CSTA. "The decision also reaffirms the intrinsic connection between computing and mathematics, and the importance of these subjects for all students in the 21st century."

Bobby Schnabel, chair of ACM's Education Policy Committee and dean, School of Informatics, Indiana University, added that, "This important designation of computing as a way to solidify and build math skills is an initial part of an important conversation about where to place computing courses in the K-12 curriculum. We look forward to working with Achieve and other organizations to further develop the math-computing connections throughout all grade and age levels."

Achieve's fourth-year capstone courses in mathematics for high school seniors provide opportunities to maintain and extend prior mathematics knowledge, as well as encourage a positive attitude towards mathematics for high school students who, in the past, may have avoided extended study. A fourth year of math also prevents a loss of mathematics knowledge between high school and college, when students will again be required to apply those skills. The capstone course signals a successful completion of a progression of mathematics content throughout grades K–12, as outlined by Achieve's full American Diploma Project benchmarks' recommendations.

"Research has shown that there is a positive association between a fourth year of mathematics study in high school and preparation for postsecondary education—including lower remediation rates," stated Sandy Boyd, vice president, advocacy and outreach, Achieve, Inc. "Whether graduates are entering higher education or the workplace, they need the ability to use complex reasoning and solve problems. These are precisely the skills that are developed in higher-level mathematics courses, and will best prepare graduates for success in college and the world of work."

CSTA is a membership organization that works to support and promote the teaching of computer science at the K-12 level by providing opportunities for teachers and students to better understand computing disciplines. It was launched by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) to ensure that teachers have the tools they need to build students interest in computer science careers. ACM's Education Policy Committee was created to develop initiatives aimed at shaping national education policies that impact the computing field.

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About CSTA
The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) is a membership organization that supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and the other computing disciplines by providing opportunities for K-12 teachers and students to better understand the computing disciplines and to more successfully prepare themselves to teach and to learn. CSTA provides its more than 400 members with resources, research, and professional development opportunities.

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.