Number of Females and Underrepresented Students Taking AP Computer Science Courses Spikes Again

New York—For the second year in a row, Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) Exam 2018 data show a substantial rise in black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, female, and rural high school students taking one or more AP computer science exams and earning a score of 3 or higher on at least one exam.

The launch of AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) was the most successful launch of any AP course in history and has led to a dramatic increase in the number of students from all backgrounds engaging in computer science and broadening career opportunities.


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.

“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 AP and Instruction at the College Board. “The continued growth of AP computer science represents a powerful commitment to career readiness in America’s schools.”


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.

Quotes From AP CSP Providers

Computer science education providers have helped guarantee there are enough teachers for AP CSP courses. These providers collectively trained a total of 3,200 teachers to teach the AP CSP course in the 2017-18 academic year.

We are so pleased about the continued growth of AP Computer Science Principles (CSP), both in participation and performance. From the start, the Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) team has been committed to diversifying engagement in computer science, and we are thrilled that the AP Computer Science Principles program is successfully increasing participation and performance among black, Latinx, and female students.

June Mark, Managing Project Director at Education Development Center, Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC)

These results are thanks to the incredible work of passionate teachers whose work each day in the classroom is building a better future for America's children. These teachers helped make Code.org the most popular curriculum in computer science, and they're now setting records in diversity too.

Hadi Partovi, Founder and CEO, Code.org

Our team at CodeHS has been thrilled to partner with the College Board to help bring AP Computer Science Principles to more students and schools. We’re excited to see that the course has been successful at expanding computing education access to more underrepresented minority students, and that thousands of students have used CodeHS in their classrooms.

Jeremy Keeshin, CEO, CodeHS

What teachers say is that they've never seen students so engaged and that it exceeds their expectations. Students are building real mobile apps that work out in the real world and at the same time they're learning about the computer science principles that apply to the apps. For Mobile CSP,139 new teachers completed Mobile CSP's summer 2017 professional development. These teachers went on to bring the Mobile CSP curriculum to over 2,600 students during the academic year, bringing the total number of Mobile CSP students for 2017-18 to nearly 10,000.

Ralph Morelli, Principal Investigator, Mobile CSP Project

Project Lead The Way is proud to partner with the College Board to continue expanding computer science education to all students. As we seek to increase the diversity of the student population participating in Computer Science Principles, we are focused on engaging underrepresented students in computer science as early as pre-K, fostering their interest and confidence throughout their pre-K−12 career. We are excited to see Computer Science Principles move the needle on this goal, and we will continue our efforts to engage and inspire all students in the opportunities computer science creates.

David Greer, Senior Vice President and Chief Programs Officer, Project Lead The Way

The College Board Computer Science Principles framework has provided us with a strong foundation for building an interesting and engaging curriculum that appeals to a wide variety of students. At UTeach, we continue to build on that foundation by providing classroom teachers with the instructional tools and support they need to be successful.

Carol Ramsey, Manager, Computer Science, UTeach Institute