International Trends in K–12 Computer Science Curricula Through Comparative Analysis: Implications for the Primary Curricula


  • Michiyo Oda Graduate School of Information Sciences, Tohoku University
  • Yoko Noborimoto Toin Gakuen High School
  • Tatsuya Horita Graduate School of Information Sciences, Tohoku University


computer science education, computer science curricula, primary school, computational thinking, cross-country analysis


The purpose of this study was to identify international trends in K–12 computer science curricula in countries that have introduced computer science education. Content analysis method was used to analyze the country-wide curricula of 10 countries which have introduced computer science education at the primary level. The K–12 Computer Science Framework was used as a theoretical frame to analyze the curricula. The results show that most countries begin their curricula with subconcepts of algorithms, program development, and under impact of computing, along with the practice of creating computational artifacts; then, countries expand upon computer science concepts and practices as learners progressed through the higher grades. Further, countries tend to introduce computer science concepts and practices in stages; once concepts and practices are introduced, they continue across multiple grades. Three approaches to implementing computer science education into the country-wide curriculum were found: introducing computer science (a) as an independent subject, (b) within multiple subjects, and/or (c) as a part of transversal competencies or an independent computer science curriculum with a cross-curricular approach. These study findings can contribute to a worldwide effort to introduce computer science education at the primary level.


Download data is not yet available.


Association for Computing Machinery. (2014). Rebooting the Pathway to Success: Preparing Students for Computing Workforce Needs in the United States. ACM Pathways Report, Pathways.Acm.Org.
Association for Computing Machinery,, Computer Science Teachers Association, Cyber Innovation Center, & Math and Science Initiative. (2016). K–12 Computer Science Framework.
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2015). Digital Technologies: Sequence of content F-10. Retrieved from
Australian Government, Department of Education Skills and Employment. (2020, June 12). Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from
Australian Trade and Investment Commission. (n.d.). Australian education system. Elcom Technology. Retrieved September 5, 2020, from
Baron, G.-L., Drot-Delange, B., Grandbastien, M., & Tort, F. (2014). Computer Science Education in French Secondary Schools: Historical and Didactical Perspectives. Trans. Comput. Educ., 14(2), 11:1–11:27.
Bocconi, S., Chioccariello, A., Dettori, G., Ferrari, A., Engelhardt, K., Kampylis, P., & Punie, Y. (2016). Developing Computational Thinking in Compulsory Education. Implications for policy and practice. EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports.
Bocconi, S., Chioccariello, A., & Earp, J. (2018). The Nordic approach to introducing computational thinking and programming in compulsory education. Report prepared for the Nordic@BETT2018 Steering Group.
Choi, J., An, S., & Lee, Y. (2015). Computing Education in Korea—Current Issues and Endeavors. Trans. Comput. Educ., 15(2), 8:1–8:22.
Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research Methods in Education, 6th Ed (Vol. 1–6th Edition). Routledge.
Comer, D. E., Gries, D., Mulder, M. C., Tucker, A., Turner, A. J., & Young, P. R. (1989). Computing As a Discipline. Commun. ACM, 32(1), 9–23.
Computing at School. (2013). Computing in the national curriculum A guide for primary teacher. Retrieved from
Computing at School Working Group. (2009).
Cuban, L. (1992). Curriculum Stability and Change. In P. W. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Curriculum: A Project of the American Educational Research Association (pp.216-247).
Denning, P. J. (2017). Remaining trouble spots with computational thinking. Communications of the ACM, 60(6), 33–39.
Department for Education. (2013). Computing programmes of study: Key stages 1 and 2 National curriculum in England.
Directorate-General for Education, & Government of the Portuguese Republic. (2018). Currículo Nacional—DL 55/2018 [National Curriculum—DL 55/2018]. Retrieved from
ECDL Foundation. (2015). Computing and Digital Literacy: Call for a holistic approach. 9.
Ediger, M. (1995). Sequence and scope in the curriculum. Education, 116(1), 159.
Education Development Center, & Ministry of Education. (2019, December 23). Podstawa programowa kształcenia ogólnego dla liceum, technikum i branżowej szkoły II stopnia [The core curriculum of general education for high schools, technical secondary schools and second-cycle industry schools].
European Commission. (2017a, October 10). Portugal Overview. Eurydice - European Commission. Retrieved from
European Commission. (2017b, October 10). Sweden Overview. Eurydice - European Commission. Retrieved from
European Commission. (2019). Poland-Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure. Eurydice - European Commission. Retrieved from
European Schoolnet. (2015). Computing our future: Computer programming and coding—Priorities, school curricula and initiatives across Europe.
Falkner, K., Sentance, S., Vivian, R., Barksdale, S., Busuttil, L., Cole, E., Liebe, C., Maiorana, F., McGill, M. M., & Quille, K. (2019). An International Comparison of K-12 Computer Science Education Intended and Enacted Curricula. Proceedings of the 19th Koli Calling International Conference on Computing Education Research, 1–10.
Fayer, S., Lacey, A., & Watson, A. (2017). STEM Occupations: Past, Present, And Future. U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
French Academy of Sciences. (2013). Teaching computer science in France Tomorrow can’t wait.
Gal-Ezer, J., & Stephenson, C. (2014). A Tale of Two Countries: Successes and Challenges in K-12 Computer Science Education in Israel and the United States. ACM Transactions on Computing Education, 14(2), 8:1–8:18.
Gander, W., Antoine, P., Gérard, B., Barbara, D. G., Jan, V., Andrew, M., Avi, M., & Chris, S. (2013). Informatics Education: Europe cannot afford to miss the boat.
Goodland, J. I., & Su, Z. (1992). Organization of the Curriculum. In P. W. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Curriculum: A Project of the American Educational Research Association (pp.327-344).
GOV.UK. (n.d.). The national curriculum. Retrieved August 22, 2020, from
Gueudet, G., Bueno-Ravel, L., Modeste, S., & Trouche, L. (2017). Curriculum in France: A National Frame in Transition. In D. Thompson, M. A. Huntley, & & C. Suurtamm (Eds.), International Perspectives on Mathematics Curriculum (pp. 41–70). International Age Publishing.
Heintz, F., Mannila, L., & Farnqvist, T. (2016). A review of models for introducing computational thinking, computer science and computing in K-12 education. 2016 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 1–9.
Korean Ministry of Education. (2015). 고등학교 교육과정(I,II,III) [High School Curriculum (I, II, III)].
Li, H., Graesser, A. C., & Cai, Z. (2014). Comparison of Google Translation with Human Translation. 6.
Li, Y., Schoenfeld, A. H., diSessa, A. A., Graesser, A. C., Benson, L. C., English, L. D., & Duschl, R. A. (2020). Computational Thinking Is More about Thinking than Computing. Journal for STEM Education Research, 3(1), 1–18.
Madaus, G. F., & Kellaghan, T. (1992). Curriculum Evaluation and Assessment. In P. W. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Curriculum: A Project of the American Educational Research Association (p. pp.119-154).
Maker, C. J. (1986). Developing Scope and Sequence in Curriculum. 8.
Ministry of Education. (2017). Technology in the New Zealand Curriculum.
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. (2015). 諸外国におけるプログラミング教育に関する調査研究 [Research on Programming Education in International Countries].
Ministry of National Education and Youth. (2018, November 13). Numérique, technologie, sciences informatiques [Digital, technology, computer science]. Retrieved from
National Board of Education. (n.d.). Perusopetuksen opetussuunnitelmien perusteet [Fundamentals of basic education curricula]. Opetushallitus. Retrieved January 26, 2020, from
National Center on Education and the Economy. (n.d.). South Korea: Learning Systems. NCEE. Retrieved August 22, 2020, from
National Research Council. (2012). A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas.
New Zealand Ministry of Education. (n.d.). Technology in the NZC. Retrieved January 29, 2020, from
POLISH REPUBLIC. (2017, February 24). Rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji Narodowej z dnia 14—Dziennik Ustaw [Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 14—Journal of Laws].
Rolandsson, L., & Skogh, I.-B. (2014). Programming in School: Look Back to Move Forward. Trans. Comput. Educ., 14(2), 12:1–12:25.
Schmidt, W. H., McKnight, C. C., Valverde, G., Houang, R. T., & Wiley, D. E. (1997). Many Visions, Many Aims: A Cross-National Investigation of Curricular Intentions in School Mathematics. Springer Science & Business Media.
Schmidt, William H., Wang, H. C., & McKnight, C. C. (2005). Curriculum coherence: An examination of US mathematics and science content standards from an international perspective. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 37(5), 525–559.
Skolverket. (2017). Få syn på digitaliseringen på gymnasial nivå [Get an idea of digitalisation at upper secondary level]. Retrieved from
So, H.-J., Jong, M. S.-Y., & Liu, C.-C. (2020). Computational Thinking Education in the Asian Pacific Region. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 29(1), 1–8.
Tenenberg, J., & McCartney, R. (2014). Editorial: Computing Education in (K-12) Schools from a Cross-National Perspective. ACM Trans. Comput. Educ., 14(2), 6:1–6:3.
The Curriculum Development Council. (2017a). General Studies Curriculum Guide for Primary Schools (Primary 1 – Primary 6).
The Curriculum Development Council. (2017b). Mathematics Education Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 – Secondary 6).
The Curriculum Development Council. (2017c). Technology Education Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 – Secondary 6).
The Institute for Democracy. (2018). 소프트웨어 교육 현황과 개선 방향 [Software education status and improvement direction].
The Royal Society. (2012). Shut down or restart? The way forward for computing in UK schools.
The Royal Society. (2017). After the reboot: Computing education in UK schools.
Wing, J. (2010). Computational Thinking: What and Why? Unpublished Manuscript in Progress. Referenced in



How to Cite

Oda, M., Noborimoto, Y., & Horita, T. (2021). International Trends in K–12 Computer Science Curricula Through Comparative Analysis: Implications for the Primary Curricula. International Journal of Computer Science Education in Schools, 4(4), 24–58.