High School Computer Science season is just about to officially begin here in Texas as the UIL District Academic Meet is about to kick off. Computer Science Education in the state of Texas owes quite a bit of gratitute to UIL and the UIL Academic Contents. UIL Academic Competitions provide the venue for academic areas to compete and without them, Computer Science in Texas might likely be about as dead as it is in most other states. As UIL has a Computer Science contest, many schools have classes or at least teams in order to be a part of the UIL contest and to ensure that their respective school has entries in all events. This is very important as many Computer Science programs have grown from these seeds of competition.
The UIL Computer Science contest is a great contest and one that other states could model. The contest consists of a 40 question multiple choice test and a 12 problem two-hour programming contest. Teams compete and consist of 4 members. 3 members of the team program and all 4 take the written test.
I have been the sponsor of the Computer Science team and club at every high school at which I have taught. The Computer Science program has grown at every school at which I have taught and part of that can be attributed to the fact that we take teams to contests in Texas all year long as well as hosting our own contest. Students love to compete and want to belong to a winning tradition. Once the tradition is established, students start to pour in. Currently, there are over 450 students in Computer Science at my school and many of them are in the program as they want to compete and be the best.
Most of the Texas high school programming contests use PC^2 as their contest system.