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Curriculum Evidence Standards

The success of the United States in the 21st century – its wealth and welfare – will depend on the ideas and skills of its population. These have always been the nation’s most important assets. As the world becomes increasingly technological, the value of these national assets will be determined in no small measure by the effectiveness of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in the United States.--The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology’s September 2010 report, “Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) for America’s Future

Standards for educational curriculum in the U.S. are typically not set at the national level. Most states and school systems have their own standards for education from kindergarten through high school, specifically when it comes to core studies such as math, science, and English. Some of the standards set are scientifically-based, while others have developed their own standards and benchmarks over time. To further advance the cybersecurity field and create the next generation of able and willing cybersecurity professionals, the government aims to recommend national-level standards for the cybersecurity field through Curriculum Evidence Standards.

Curriculum Evidence Standards are the criteria or specifications that determine whether an activity (i.e., program, project, curriculum, etc.) is delivering the desired effect to the appropriate participants.  In particular, evidence-based education is a measurement and research-driven practice of improving performance, transforming common practice, and minimizing achievement gaps in education. The goal is to promote evidence-based contributions to STEM education programs that are foundational to the cybersecurity field. The goal is also to support government’s efforts to align Federal K-12 STEM education efforts to a coherent strategy.

Part of this effort comes from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). This is an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers, appointed by the President to augment the science and technology counsel available to him from inside the White House, cabinet departments, and other Federal agencies. In its September 2010 report to the President entitled, “Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) for America’s Future,”  the advisors state that “STEM education will determine whether the United States will remain a leader among nations and whether we will be able to solve immense challenges in such areas as energy, health, environmental protection, and national security. It will help produce the capable and flexible workforce needed to compete in a global marketplace. It will ensure our society continues to make fundamental discoveries and to advance our understanding of ourselves, our planet, and the universe. It will generate the scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians who will create the new ideas, new products, and entirely new industries of the 21st century.”

By providing Curriculum Evidence Standards to the nation, it ensures that the growing cybersecurity field has an educational baseline from which to build, and will help build the capable and flexible workforce the President’s advisory group mentions in their report.