About the High School Cybersecurity Curriculum Guidelines

As more high school teachers integrate cybersecurity into their classrooms, the need for coherent High School Cybersecurity Curriculum Guidelines becomes more pressing. Curriculum guidelines set the parameters, directions, and standards for curriculum policy and practice. They are a means of organizing and managing content (policies, procedures, concepts and so on) in a systematic way. The Guidelines are important because they enable educators to effectively plan properly sequenced activities so as to provide learning opportunities targeting desired learning outcomes. Curriculum developers and teachers seek to ensure that students develop a base of knowledge, skills, attitudes, beliefs and values that will enable them to function successfully in cybersecurity college programs and careers.

The Guidelines used for this Introduction to Cybersecurity were modeled after the AP Computer Science Principles curriculum framework, which in turn was based on the Understanding by Design® (Wiggins and McTighe) model. They were designed by educators from high school and higher education, who collectively have vast experience teaching computer science and cybersecurity. Feedback was sought across the country from high school educators teaching computer science and/or cybersecurity courses, cybersecurity educators from higher education institutions, and members of government and industry that have a need for highly skilled workers. This document guides curriculum in that it expresses what should be taught rather than how to teach it and provides students with a visible guide to successfully complete the course. Introduction to Cybersecurity is intended to be equivalent to an intro course in cybersecurity at either a community college or university.

Curriculum designed using these Guidelines should appeal to students who have a broad range of interests and a variety of backgrounds. As cybersecurity becomes a part of nearly every aspect of society, an important prerequisite is interest, the ability to problem-solve, and a curious nature. The intent is that a course based on these Guidelines will entice students into the field of cybersecurity, by exposing them to the diverse opportunities available.

The development of the Cybersecurity Curriculum Guidelines was funded by The National Cryptologic Foundation (NCF). The NCF expresses its deep gratitude for the generous financial support provided by Northrop Grumman Corporation and the National Security Agency in support of the High School Cyber Curriculum Guidelines – Phase One project. We also are grateful for the generous financial support provided by the Hewlett Foundation in support of the Guideline’s Phase Two efforts, and for general educational program support previously provided by Lockheed Martin and Northern Trust.

Download the Curriculum Guidelines here:

If you would like to access the cybersecurity curriculum guidelines at this time, please download this PDF.