20% More Schools Earn Annual AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award
College Board Recognizes 818 Schools for Closing AP Computer Science Gender Gap
New York—Today the College Board announced recipients of its second annual AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award, recognizing schools for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science A (CSA) and/or AP Computer Science Principles (CSP). Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded young women's access to AP computer science courses and closed the gender gap among their AP computer science students.
Out of the 20,000 institutions that offer AP courses, 818 achieved this important result during the 2018–2019 school year—nearly 20% more than the 685 schools recognized last year. Of the 818 schools recognized, 639 earned the award for AP CSP, 143 for AP CSA, and 36 had the distinction of receiving the award for both courses.
Every year, more young women learn firsthand that computer science is key to 21st-century opportunities," said Stefanie Sanford, College Board chief of global policy and external relations. "We are proud that female students see AP computer science coursework as part of a growing movement making it possible for girls to own their future through computing and technology."
Schools receiving the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have achieved either 50% or higher female representation in either or both of the AP computer science courses, or the percentage of female computer science examinees meets or exceeds that of the school's female population.
One year after earning the inaugural AP Female Diversity Award in Computer Science Principles, Medgar Evers College Preparatory School in Brooklyn, N.Y., is one of this year's dual award recipients.
"We understand computer science is the way of the future," says MECPS principal Michael Wiltshire. "If they do well in AP Computer Science Principles, that really boosts their confidence to move on to Computer Science A and do well. We have several female students who have gone on to graduate from MIT, and they come back and speak about these opportunities. We really believe that if our students have access, opportunity, and support, every student can succeed."
The introduction of AP CSP in 2016 was the largest course launch in AP Program history. By 2019, nearly 100,000 students took an AP CSP Exam, more than doubling participation in 3 years. The number of female AP CSA Exam takers is also on the rise, up nearly 60% in 5 years. Educators say more female students are going on to take AP CSA after they complete AP CSP.
"AP CSP has opened doors for a number of our female students," says Wheeler High School CSP teacher Jeffrey Kent. Located in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Ga., Wheeler received the AP CSP Female Diversity Award for the first time this year. "Not only have scores on the AP CSP Exam improved over the past two years, but we have also had an increase in female students taking and scoring well on the AP Computer Science A Exam."
In the nation's capital, Washington Leadership Academy received the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award in AP Computer Science Principles for the second year in a row. AP CSP teacher Taylor Deutsch says in her classes, "the girls love looking at the impact of technology on the world. They also love getting creative with coding with long-term projects, seeing the immediate results on the screen."
At Washington Leadership Academy, AP CSP is a requirement for every 10th grader. As a result, Deutsch says, more young women are confidently taking the next step in CS education, thanks to their positive experience in AP CSP. "This is incredibly exciting. This year we have our first AP CS A class which is a mix of 11th and 12th graders. Out of 24 students, 14 of them are girls."
Providing female students with access to computer science courses is necessary to ensuring gender parity in high-paying technology jobs and to drive innovation, creativity, and competition. A 2014 Google study found that women are more likely to pursue computer science if they are given the opportunity to explore it in high school.