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December 14, 2020
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JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



Board of Regents Adopts First-Ever Learning Standards for Computer Science and Digital Fluency

The Board of Regents today adopted New York State’s first-ever K-12 Learning Standards for Computer Science and Digital Fluency, Interim Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced. These standards will ensure that every student knows how to live productively and safely in a technology-dominated world, including understanding the essential features of digital technologies, why and how they work, and how to communicate and create using those technologies. The new standards are the culmination of a two-year, collaborative process that included New York State teachers and statewide experts on computer science and educational technology.

“Technology is a large part of children’s lives, and the ability to understand and use technology safely and effectively to learn, communicate and create is critical for 21st century life, work and civic engagement,” Board of Regents Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown said. “The COVID-19 emergency has magnified the digital divide that separates so many of our most vulnerable students from their peers. As the Board of Regents and the Department work to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education, it’s critical that comprehensive technology learning is available to our youngest students and continues throughout their scholastic career.”

“Throughout the collaborative process of creating these standards, we listened to valuable input from an array of stakeholders, and we will continue to work with our partners across the state as the standards are implemented to ensure they are working for all our children,” Interim Commissioner Rosa said. “The standards adopted today allow for engagement by all students and flexibility in how they may demonstrate proficiency. The standards support a cultural view of learning and human development in which multiple expressions of diversity are recognized and regarded as assets for teaching and learning.”

Overview of the New Computer Science and Digital Fluency Standards

The New York State K-12 Computer Science and Digital Fluency Standards are organized into five concepts: Impacts of Computing, Computational Thinking, Networks and Systems Design, Cybersecurity, and Digital Literacy.

Each concept contains two or more sub-concepts and within the sub-concepts are a number of standards. The standards are grouped into grade-bands:  K-1, 2-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12. Students are expected to master the standards by the end of the last year of the grade band (i.e., end of third grade for the 2-3 grade band). Visual representations of and graphics on reading the standards are available in the presentation made today to the Board of Regents.

To comply with a 2018 statute requiring the development of Computer Science Standards, and to fulfil the expectation outlined in the 2010 USNY Statewide Technology Plan that “students, teachers, and leaders will have clear standards for what students should know and be able to do with technology,” the Department engaged with more than 120 stakeholders in seven workgroups to create new Computer Science and Digital Fluency Standards. The workgroups worked on different areas and phases of the standards and included:

  • Authoring workgroup
  • Review Panel
  • Stakeholder Feedback Workgroup
  • Second Revision Workgroup
  • Executive Standards Committee
  • Early Learning Workgroup
  • Subject Matter Workgroup

The standards were conditionally approved by the Board of Regents P-12 Committee in January to allow the Department additional time to engage with early learning experts to ensure the early grades standards are developmentally appropriate and to begin to develop resources and guidance to help implement the standards. For additional information on the new standards, please see the Department’s Computer Science and Digital Fluency website.

Early Learning Standards Review and Revision Process

In January 2020, NYSED sent requests to the field for educators with expertise in early learning to assist with reviewing and revising the early grade band standards. The Early Learning Review Committee was formed and included New York State-certified teachers and experts in early learning from across the State, as well as representation from New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). The Committee convened its first meeting in February 2020 to begin reviewing the standards.

In early March 2020, the Early Learning Committee reviewed the standards and submitted feedback which was synthesized into a set of suggested revisions to better meet the needs of New York’s youngest learners. Work on the standards was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the majority of the early learning experts assisting with the revision work were New York State teachers. Out of respect for the incredible circumstances facing our teachers and schools during that time, and with the firm belief that the expertise of New York State educators was vital to the revision process, an extension was granted on the timeline to deliver revised standards to the Board of Regents for final approval.

The Early Learning Committee met weekly in August and September to revise the Early Learning Standards. In October, additional revisions were made to ensure alignment with the upper grade bands. The draft Standards were presented to the Executive Standards Committee in November 2020 for final feedback.

Stakeholder Input and Feedback

The NYS K-12 Computer Science and Digital Fluency Standards were developed and revised in partnership with numerous stakeholders. Care was taken to ensure participation by representatives of all regions of New York State, as well as key stakeholder groups, including:

  • teachers;
  • administrators;
  • business and industry experts;
  • parents;
  • representatives from higher education, BOCES, Big 4 school districts, and NYC Department of Education; and
  • members of various professional organizations, including New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), and NYS Association for Computers and Technologies in Education (NYSCATE).

Next Steps

The Department will return to the Board of Regents in fall 2021 with regulatory and policy recommendations related to embedding this new subject area into the K-12 program requirements. Department staff will engage with partners across the state to develop guidance materials and tools to aid schools in the implementation of the new standards.

Timetable for Roll-out and Implementation

The following timetable for implementation was approved at the January 2020 meeting of the Board of Regents and was formulated to provide ample time for teachers to become familiar with the new standards.

Timetable for Roll-out and Implementation
Dates Phase Activities

Adoption – Aug. 2021


Roll-out and building awareness of the new standards and timeline for implementation

Sept. 2021 – Aug. 2023


Focus on curriculum development, resource acquisition, professional development

Sept. 2023 – Aug. 2024

Year 1 Implementation

All credit-bearing computer science courses will be aligned with NYS CS&DF Standards

September 2024

Full Implementation

CS&DF Standards implemented in all grade bands K-12