Girls and Minorities Participate in Higher Numbers in Computer Science AP Courses and Exams

Record Participation in Advanced Placement Computer Science

Over the years, I have had grants to help teachers become less afraid of teaching science and math. I have been particularly interested in encouraging children of color and girls to study math and science, because people of color and women are under represented in the fields of Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). I have written posts on encouraging girls and children of color to learn to code and study Computer Science.  In President Obama’a 2016 Address to Congress, he talked about making every student efficient in coding to access the careers of the future.

In the Scholarships, Grants, Fellowships and Resources page on this site, I wrote about a Google program on Computer Science and coding in the Queens Public Library. Pull down that menu and read about this program. It is up and running and I suggest you look into it for the fall if you live in Queens, New York.  

But I am excited to pass on some good news. I just received the following email from Hadi Partovi of Code.Org on the current data on students of color and girls and their participation in Computer Science Advanced Placement courses.

Do click on links in the email below to see the data depicting the major upswing in the participation of both girls and under-represented minorities. The efforts of teachers, students, donors, and programs like Code.Org  have made this hopeful upsurge possible.  Here is what she wrote and asked me to share:

Setting a new record for AP Computer Science

The results are in: 29,000 female students took an AP Computer Science exam this year, which is more than the entire AP CS exam participation when launched four years ago. The introduction of AP CS Principles this past school year was the largest College Board AP exam launch in history and has skyrocketed participation in CS especially among female students and minorities.

Participation by girls and minorities outpaces the rest – but there’s a loooong way to go

We’ve seen improvement in the diversity of AP Computer Science every year since launched in 2013, thanks to the collaboration of partners, and the dedicated effort of thousands of CS teachers. Of course, even though the trends are in the right direction, there’s a long long way to go to balance diversity in computer science.

Did you hear about this?

In the last 5 months, 6 entire states announced plans or funding for computer science: Iowa, Nevada, Wisconsin, Washington, Idaho, and Utah. This incredible success is due to the local champions and our partners in the Advocacy Coalition.

In the last 6 weeks, 4 entire countries announced national plans for computer science: Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and Romania, with almost $300M of funding behind the rollouts!

Meanwhile, course participation keeps growing – 600,000 teachers and almost 20M students have accounts on – more than 20% of all students in the U.S. We just launched our latest course, CS Discoveries, for grades 7-9, and this summer we’re preparing almost 2,000 middle and high school teachers who will soon begin teaching computer science to 100,000 students a year.

“I am the luckiest teacher to get to share this with my students next year! Thank you!” – Says Maureen Ryan, a middle school teacher from Georgia.

Our work was recently profiled by the New York Times, and MSNBC produced a wonderful story featuring football star Antonio Brown learning to code alongside 5th graders!

Thank you

We are so grateful to the entire community behind what has become the biggest teacher-led movement in world education, as well as to our generous donors, especially Microsoft, Facebook, Infosys Foundation, Omidyar Network, and Google.

Our work wouldn’t be possible without your support. We hope you share this update or the recent stories by the NY Times or by MSNBC.

Hadi Partovi

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