Number of Girls and Underrepresented Students Taking AP Computer Courses Spikes Again
Number of Girls and Underrepresented Students Taking AP Computer Courses Spikes AgainMaria Alcon-Heraux, Director, Media Relations
The AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) course at Lake Brantley High School in Florida is so popular that 100 students have signed up for the fall of 2018 waiting list. Seth Reichelson, who teaches the course says 50 percent of his students have been female for the last two years.
“The AP CSP class is a rigorous introduction to computer science. It allows students to code in a creative context not just code for an end of course test. This class was made for a teacher like me. I got no limit on creativity!” says Reichelson. “The AP CSP class is serving as a much-needed opening of the computing science pipeline.”
Across the country in California’s Merced Union School District, the number of AP CSP courses grew from one in 2016 to 6 by 2018. Jorge Alexandre, who teaches at one of the district’s high schools, says his AP CSP class in 2017 had 21 underrepresented minority students in a class of 29. Half of the students in his class were also female.
New data shows more students around the country are taking and doing well in AP computer science courses and exams, especially female, underrepresented minorities and rural students. In AP CSP alone, the number of underrepresented minorities taking the exam grew faster than the total group.
“At a time when there are 10 times more job openings in computing than qualified candidates, AP Computer Science Principles is preparing students not only for college, but also for careers,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president of the AP Program at the College Board. “The continued growth of AP computer science represents a powerful commitment to career readiness in America’s schools.”
ALL AP COMPUTER SCIENCE STUDENTS
Overall, 135,992 students took at least one AP computer science exam (AP CSP or AP Computer Science A) in 2018, a 31% increase from 2017. There was a 50% rise in the number of students taking the AP CSP Exam, from 50,000 in 2017 to 76,000 in 2018.
Black/African American students saw the most growth year over year. The number of students taking an AP computer science exam increased 44%, from 5,057 in 2017 to 7,301 in 2018. From 2017 to 2018, AP CSP participation expanded by 70% from 2,981 to 5,082. The number of black/African American students scoring a 3 or higher in AP CSP went up 61%.
Hispanic/Latino students were close behind. AP computer science participation increased 41%, 20,954 in 2018 from14,860 in 2017. AP CSP participation among Hispanic/Latino students grew 68% from last year to 14,020 in 2018. Also, there was a 61% gain from last year in the number of Hispanic/Latino students who scored a 3 or higher on the AP CSP Exam.
The number of female students who took an AP computer science exam increased 39%, from 27,395 in 2017 to 38,195 in 2018. There was a 70% jump in the number of female students taking the AP CSP Exam from 13,328 in 2017 to 22,721 in 2018. In addition, the number of female students scoring 3 or higher on the AP CSP Exam rose 66%
The number of rural students taking AP computer science exams increased from 9,981 in 2017 to 14,184 in 2018, a spike of 42%. Rural students saw the most gains in AP CSP participation with a 73% increase from 5,029 in 2017 to 8,705 in 2018. The number of rural students scoring at least a 3 on the AP CSP Exam rose 59% from last year.
While there is much to do still in the computer science education achievement gap, this data shows a step in the right direction.