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Computer science has become a basic skill in today’s economy, which is why Iowa has set a goal that every student will graduate from high school having had computer science instruction.

This goal stems from Senate File 274, which former Gov. Branstad signed into law in 2017 that encourages computer science in every Iowa school, establishes computer science standards and creates a computer science professional development incentive fund.

School districts are encouraged to allow computer science courses that meet state computer science standards and include math content to count as math credits for students who have completed other courses covering the required state math standards. In addition, a computer science course may fulfill a math requirement for graduation if the course meets state academic standards in math (for example, an integrated Algebra II/Computer Science course). Source: Iowa Computer Science Education Work Group Report, endorsed by Gov. Kim Reynolds.


Computer Science is understanding how and why technologies work, exploring whether and how technology could solve real-life problems, investigating procedures, creating solutions, and learning about computing systems, programming, data, networks, and the effects on society and the individual. Computer Science is learning how to create new technologies, rather than simply using them.


All Iowa students will engage in the concepts and practices of computer science through an intentional progression of experiences in order to prepare them to become enterprising citizens that positively impact society.


Iowa’s computer science standards are the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards, which were developed by the Computer Science Teachers Association.

The standards were approved and adopted by the Iowa State Board of Education in June 2018, based on an Iowa team’s recommendation. The standards can be viewed and filtered from the CSTA Standards webpage.

Iowa Computer Science Standards - A complete set of standards and a progression chart.

Computer Science Update Newsletter

The Computer Science Update is a monthly newsletter directed to educators and administrations.

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Previous Newsletters


The need for computer science in careers is clear. A report from Burning Glass, a job markets analytics firm, found there were as many as 7 million job openings in 2015 in occupations that require coding skills. The report found that half of the programming openings came from industries outside of technology. The Burning Glass report indicates that there are an increasing number of businesses that rely on computer code. “A software engineer could find themselves working at [a tech company], as they could in a hospital or at an automotive manufacturer.”

Iowa industries have a need for their workforce in computer science related occupations. From Iowa’s Future Ready Iowa Metrics That Matter, two of the high demand jobs are Information security analysts and computer systems analysts.

Work Groups

The Iowa Department of Education established two work groups in response to Senate File 274.


Guidance for Implementing the Computer Science Standards - A document to aid Iowa's school districts in interpreting and implementing Iowa's Computer Science Standards.

Laws, Rules and Policy

Senate File 274 (Iowa Acts 2017, Chapter 106)

281--Iowa Administrative Code 12.11

281--Iowa Administrative Code 98

Professional Development Incentive Fund

This funding will help schools pay for professional learning or university coursework for teaching endorsements in computer science. The professional development incentive fund will be available to school districts through a competitive application process.

Computer Science is Elementary

A collaborative project between the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and the Department of Education that will launch six innovative computer science elementary schools. The six high-poverty schools selected will transform existing buildings with engaging computer science instruction. This will create more opportunities for their students, including real-life work experiences with area employers. Learn more about this project on the Computer Science is Elementary webpage.

Computer Science Endorsement

The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners offers a Computer Science endorsement. While not mandatory this endorsement can help ensure there are highly qualified teachers in computer science classrooms.

Statewide Computer Science Leadership Team

A team will convene to discuss standards implementation, identify and develop resources, build capacity, and develop professional learning. The team will be made up of Computer Science educators representing AEA consultants, K-12 teachers, teacher leaders, administrators, college and university specialists in Computer Science teacher preparation and the private sector. 


These resources should not be considered recommendations. They are made available only to support the learning of schools, districts, and AEAs.

Getting Started


Computational Thinking


Computer Science Courses

Computer Science Courses

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on September 29, 2020 at 10:59pm.