2022 State of CS Report: The U.S. progresses as a new policy makes waves

Up 2% from last year, 53% of U.S. high schools now offer a computer science course. Some states are implementing computer science as a required course and they’re seeing record participation. The 2022 State of Computer Science Report has data on these new developments, plus state-by-state breakdowns. (You can read the full report here. The book version is available on Amazon.)

Access to computer science is up

Student access to computer science education, or CS, increased over the past year, with 53% of high schools now offering at least one foundational computer science course (up from 51% last year). Even more promising, student participation in computer science showed a 23% increase from last year’s enrollment.

However, the latest data also reveals that disparities continue to exist when it comes to who has access to and participates in computer science education. Native American students in particular are far less likely to attend a school that offers a foundational computer science course, and while Black and African-American and Native American students are fairly well represented in computer science courses, Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx students are underrepresented.

The largest gap in participation in computer science courses comes between young men and young women. Nationally, only 32% of students enrolled in these courses are young women. While up slightly from the previous year (31%), only a few states — Maryland, Mississippi, and South Carolina — have reached above 40% of young women enrollees in their high school computer science courses.

What do these states have in common?

They require — in some form or another — that students take a computer science course to graduate.

South Carolina instituted computer science as a graduation requirement in 2018, but the requirement only fully went into effect in the last year. In addition to dramatically increasing participation from young women, overall graduation rates for every racial and ethnic group and gender that the state tracks increased over that time.

Maryland and Mississippi do not have a standalone computer science graduation requirement, but do require some technology course — and the majority of pathways to fulfill the requirement are computer science courses.

The data in this year’s report makes clear that computer science as a graduation requirement opens doors for students who have historically been excluded from the subject. And several other states are following suit. In the past two years, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Nebraska have joined South Carolina and Nevada in requiring students to take a computer science course to graduate.

Progress, state by state

The 2022 State of Computer Science report also details the progress in state policies over the past year. For the first time, a majority of U.S. states require computer science to be taught in their schools. And half of all states have adopted at least seven of the nine recommended policies to make computer science foundational by the Code.org Advocacy Coalition.

That policy momentum matters. States that have adopted at least six of the nine policies saw 68% of their schools offering a CS course last year on average, compared to just 48% of schools in states with fewer than six policies.

Computer science is foundational. It engages students in school and supports learning in other subjects as well. This report makes clear that policymakers can play a tremendously important role toward ensuring equitable access and participation to this foundational knowledge that students need. It’s time for advocates, policymakers, and education leaders to take these steps so more students aren’t left behind.

Read the 2022 State of Computer Science report today.

—Sean Roberts, Code.org Vice President of Government Affairs

About the report

Co-authored by the Code.org Advocacy Coalition, the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), and the Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP) Alliance, this is the most comprehensive report of progress in K–12 computer science education across the U.S. It combines state-level policy with course access and participation data in a unique way to assess the progress of the computer science community through a lens of equity and diversity. The progress we’ve made only comes with deep partnerships. We want to give special thanks to Cognizant for making this year’s report possible, as well as the many organizations in the Code.org Advocacy Coalition, teacher advocates for CS education, and the entire computer science community.

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