BPSS Curriculum Guideline: Computer Courses, including Coding

Please note that these Guidelines on Computer Courses cover courses on Coding, Microsoft Office, Database Software, etc. These Guidelines ONLY concern NYSED and/or BPSS expectations for curriculum review. Prior to submitting your new curriculum for review, please make sure to follow the instructions and advice below:

General Technicalities

  • When uploading curriculum material to my.ny.gov, always use the tab for <Coursework Details> in the drop-down menu, instead of the tabs for <Others> or <Miscellaneous>.
  • For new curriculum, expect up to 90 days for review. Note that an approved curriculum may sometimes have to be revised/updated afterwards.
  • Curriculum title MUST be descriptive and clear, with NO advertising, and indicate what specific program is being taught. If it is a test prep class for a CISCO, CompTIA, or Microsoft exam, for example, this MUST be clearly stated in the title.
  • For curriculums and/or exams in a language other than English, please consult the Teaching in LOTE (Language/s Other Than English) BPSS Curriculum Guidelines and Checklist

General Content

  • The BPSS entrance requirement for curricula above 40 hours is at least High School Diploma/GED/TASC or higher. Shorter basic curricula can be approved with just an interview and, depending on the nature of the curriculum, prior experience/skills using computers. If your school opts to admit students without such formal educational certificates then, depending on the complexity of the curriculum, an Ability-to-Benefit test at the 8th/9th grade level, such as TABE or Wonderlic Basic Skills Test scores of 248 verbal/254 quantitative, or a test in specific computer/coding skills, might be recognized. Note that your school is NOT required to admit students without High School Diploma/GED/TASC.
  • The content description should be list-like. Units should be less than 100hrs, but NOT splintered into mini-units either. Each subject should be one single unit. In computer classes, theory and skills are mixed. Enter “skills” under <Coursework>.
  • A longer curriculum should end with the Career Development module. The Career Development (3-5hrs) module should cover what professional certifications exist, how to find a job in this field, and how to apply for a job (including résumé writing & interview techniques).

Method of Instruction

  • When in doubt, select <Classroom>. If you want blended learning for some units (part online, part in-class), make sure to read the BPSS Curriculum Guidelines on Distance Learning, check the corresponding Checklist, and work with the Curriculum Unit. Note that in order to create an approved blended learning unit it generally takes longer than 90 days.
  • Note that computer classes can also be taught entirely online.

Textbooks and Instructional Aids

  • Include the software name, with version. Normally you would teach the most current version of the software, but if you teach an earlier version, e.g. MS Word 2010, MS Word 2007, etc., then you must specify it, since some users still rely on older versions of software. Listing “software from the textbook” is unacceptable — you need to specify the programs and versions.
  • Your students MUST use a standard published textbook, since you CANNOT use only handouts except for short courses under 40 hours. Note that BPSS does NOT mandate the use of a specific textbook. Handouts should be uploaded under <Coursework Details>. The textbook can be an online textbook. In this case, the online textbook MUST be specified, as do the conditions under which students can access the online textbook.

Equipment List

  • Equipment MUST be to industry standards; it does NOT need to be the latest technology, but it CANNOT be obsolete either. Divide List into <Classroom Equipment> and <Classroom Expendables> and <Student Kit>. Most listed items will require a definite number, but Expendables can be “as needed”.
  • Computer description MUST include the manufacturer, model, speed in MHz, size of RAM, and size of Hard Drive. Computer software and hardware may NOT be older than five years except for specific instructional purposes.
  • Students MUST have access to computers in the classroom. If they will need their laptops, this fact MUST be specified, noting the minimum specifications above for student laptops.

Content Outline and Performance Objectives

  • Use (the former 21a) Content Outline guidelines to show how students progress through the curriculum and (the former 21b) Performance Objectives to explain how the teacher tests student mastery. For each unit, list the content. If the unit is over 20hrs, break it into sub-units in the Content Outline.
  • For Performance Objectives, you MUST describe what the student will do to show the instructor that he/she learned the subject matter. For the theory component, this will include quizzes, homework, and class answers; for the skills component, practical demonstrations.
  • Only hours with teacher/student interaction can count as instructional hours. Preparation work and homework, as well as unsupervised project work, are useful but do NOT count as instructional hours.


  • Use the latest BPSS standard Affiliation Agreement. Note that the Agreement MUST be re-submitted, with a new signature, on re-approval (every 4 years). For this type of curriculum, schools upload one signed agreement with the BPSS Curriculum Unit, and keep the other signed copies at the school. The school also uploads a list of sites (this file should include a date) under the <Curriculum Internship List> tab.


  • Indicate any and all changes in a letter uploaded under <Coursework Details>. Upload the complete, previously approved, curriculum (including approval letter) in one PDF under <Coursework Details>. Then upload the revised/amended curriculum as a second PDF.
  • Note that any changes in books and equipment, as well as minor changes in structure, are done by a letter, and NOT by amendments. Please email the letter to bpsscurriculum@nysed.gov

General Caveats

  • Note that NO BPSS CURRICULUM APPROVAL, EVEN WHEN GIVEN IN ERROR, CAN OVERRIDE THE LAW! You MUST be familiar with the legal requirements in your offering.

Any further questions, please contact bpsscurriculum@nysed.gov