UC Davis C-STEM Brings Computer Science into Redlands Classrooms
Since 2010, the University of California, Davis, Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education, or C-STEM, has aimed to transform K-12 math, computer science and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education through integrated learning. Launched by Harry Cheng, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC Davis, the center's Joint Computer Science Supplementary Teaching Credential Authorization Program recently graduated 25 teachers from Redlands Unified School District.
The joint program is offered by the UC Davis and UC Riverside extension, and offers training in integrating computer science into math education in K-12 curricula. Redlands is the first school district in the nation that has 25 teachers who have gone through four college-level courses needed to earn their credential.
"Redlands is a good example of a school district working with C-STEM to address the 'opportunity gap' in math education," said Cheng, who serves as C-STEM's director. "Schools are working to get students back on track after the pandemic. The students are doing better, closing the achievement gap and teachers are learning new skills, closing the skills gap."
Redlands USD implemented the C-STEM program in 2018 to narrow the achievement gap in math and address the opportunity gap in computing. Redlands has seen results with the program. From the 2018-19 school year to 2021-22, average scores on the mathematics diagnostic testing project, or MDTP, rose by more than 13% in C-STEM classes compared to peers in traditional math classes in the same schools. (Redlands students can choose either a C-STEM math track, plus a computer science class, or a traditional math class.)
"C-STEM brings joy into the classroom," said Deepika Srivastava, STEAM coordinator for the Redlands school district. "When you're solving a math problem by coding, it's an iterative process, there's constant feedback. It encourages students to keep trying and develops skills in critical thinking, problem solving and perseverance."