Celebration of the Success of the CPS Computer Science Graduation Requirement

August 2022


Lucia Dettori

DePaul University

Brenda Wilkerson


Gail Chapman

Exploring Computer Science

Steven McGee

The Learning Partnership

Regina Winters

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Faythe Brannon

Chicago Public Schools

Danqing Yin

University of Kansas

Troy Williams

CS for Success

Aaron Park

Saint Louis University

Teresa Lansford

Texas Tech University

Journi Easter

Chicago Public Schools

Jada Dunkentell

Chicago Public Schools

Dung Pham

Western Michigan University

Sangkyoo Kang

Pennsylvania State University

Kristan Beck

Chicago Public Schools

The Chicago Public Schools leads the nation in computer science education. Each year 14,000 Chicago Public Schools students graduate each year with at least one year of computer science. This is the result of a graduation requirement that CPS enacted in 2016. At the event, the founders of the CS4All movement shared the history of the landmark decision. Teachers, administrators, and students shared their experiences with computer science in CPS. Researchers from around the country shared the results of their evaluation of the impact of the graduation requirement on broadening participation in computer science. The evaluation was framed around the CAPE framework. In order to ensure that a district supports equal outcomes in computer science, they need to develop Capacity for schools to offer CS, increase Access to CS, ensure equal Participation, and then examine how the CS Experience led to equal outcomes.

The results indicated that:

  • The Exploring Computer Science professional development program supported a rapid expansion of school Capacity after the enactment oof the graduation requirement.
  • At the time the graduation requirement was enacted, roughly half of the schools did not offer any computer science and 2/3 did not have sufficient capacity to support computer science for all students.
    • Larger schools with fewer low-income students and a strong college going climate were more likely to offer CS just before the enactment of the graduation requirement.
  • Access to computer science expanded significantly after the computer science graduation requirement.
  • Participation in computer science significantly increased across all demographic groups after the graduation requirement.
    • By the time the 2nd cohort graduated after the requirement, the demographics of students taking CS matched the demographics of the district
  • Students’ Experiences with ECS led to equivalent course performance between students taking ECS before and after the enactment of the graduation requirement.
  • The number of students pursuing CS pathways in CPS doubled after the enactment of the graduation requirement.

Suggested Citation

Dettori, L., Wilkerson, B., Chapman, G., McGee, S., Winters, R., Brannon, F., Yin, D., Williams, T., Park, A., Lansford, L., Easter, J., Dunketell, J., Pham, D., Kang, S., & Beck, K. (2022). Celebration of the Success of the CPS Computer Science Graduation Requirement [Webinar]. Chicago, IL: Chicago Alliance for Equity in Computer Science. https://doi.org/10.51420/report.2022.1