Posted on Jan 29, 2021
At our first inaugural meeting, we shared a variety of resources and insight regarding the CS Praxis exam and the new PA 7-12 CS Certification requirements.
 
On Thursday night we held our first Chapter meeting for CSTA Susquehanna Valley where we shared some of the membership perks for both CSTA and CSTA+ Members as well as shared information about the PA CS Praxis Exam and current requirements for the PA 7-12 CS Certification. We'd like to thank those members who showed up for this inaugural meeting! Everyone had the opportunity to share who they were and a little background regarding how they've come into Computer Science and CSTA. 
 
The Leadership Team shared that, moving forward, they'd like to help meet the needs of our membership - including holding meeting times and events which will support our members. If possible, we ask all members to find time to complete this membership survey
 
While going over CSTA and CSTA Benefits, they highlighted several discounted CS Praxis preparatory resources which are available to CSTA+ members. These included WeTeach_CS Certification Prep which offers $300 off the course, CompuScholar which includes free 180-day access to two courses (Digital Savvy and Java Programming AP) which assist in preparation for the Praxis Computer Science Exam preparatory course, and a limited free or discounted membership to PluralSightOne which includes over 100 hours of CS Content with 33 courses on Java and Python to help prepare for the exam. (Please note - you may need to login using your CSTA membership to view these offers.)
 
Jeffrey Wile, our presiding President, also shared his experiences with the CS Praxis exam, including the details of what the at-home Praxis experience was like. He took the Praxis earlier this month, and by January 27th, was certified. He relayed that there are several requirements for the exam which are shared with you prior to it. Some of these included a completely quiet room for test taking - no interruptions, and corresponding with a proctor in order to demonstrate that you're the only one in the room by using your webcam to demonstrate a 360 degree view, and even a mirror to show your monitors. Taking this exam, you may not use paper - as you cannot write down questions and answers which could be shared - but you may us a whiteboard. Jeffrey expressed that he was nervous about having to do some of the necessary calculations on the whiteboard when he was used to pencil/paper but expressed that it did not hinder his ability to do the necessary math in this exam.  
 
As far as preparation for the test is concerned, Jeffrey shared that he did complete the WeTeach_CS course which PaTTAN is offering to help prepare for the exam and that he felt that the final 4 tests in the WeTeach_CS course really prepared him for this exam and that, in some cases, those tests seemed even more difficult than the CS Praxis Exam. He suggests those in the WeTeach_CS to finish it out and to use any prep time to focus on big picture concepts and areas that you felt least comfortable in to develop a stronger background overall. Jeff also suggests that the CS Praxis exam is more about breadth than depth when it comes to the variety of content areas which it addresses: Impacts of Computing, Algorithms and Computational Thinking, Programming, Data, and Computing Systems and Networks which are all listed in the CS Praxis Study Companion; the study companion practice questions provide a great scope of breadth versus depth. Lastly, Jeffrey also shared that he felt the those teaching curriculum related to AP Computer Science A and/or the old AP Computer Science AB will prepare you for any programming questions. Jeffrey encourages folks who are nervous or who have questions to reach out to our leadership team. 
 
Rachael Haverstick (Treasurer), Jigar Patel (Vice President), and Nicole Bond (Secretary) discussed the CSinPA 7-12 Computer Science Certification FAQ Document, highlighting the dates and the difficulties in the wording - including the most recent updates. It will be helpful for administrators and educators to check this document intermittently for additional updates and clarifications moving forward. Updates are noted by a date on the document. 
 
If you would like to view the agenda from this meeting, you can do so here.