The launch of AP Computer Science Principles was the largest course launch in AP’s 60-year history. News outlets across the country have highlighted the positive response to the new course from both students and educators.
From Washington Post:
Ten years ago, girls were so scarce in high school computer science classes that the number of female students taking Advanced Placement tests in that subject could be counted on one hand in nine states. In five others, there were none. Latino and African American students were also in short supply, a problem that has bedeviled educators for years and hindered efforts to diversify the high-tech workforce. Now, an expansion of AP computer science classes is helping to draw more girls and underrepresented minorities into a field of growing importance for schools, universities and the economy.
Testing totals for female, black and Latino students all doubled in 2017, following the national debut of an AP course in computer science principles. It joined a longer-established AP course focused on the programming language Java. Racial and gender imbalances persist. But education leaders said the data show a significant advance in a quest to banish the stereotype that computer science is mainly for coding geeks who tend to be white or Asian American boys.
“We’re trying to diversify a field that for whatever reason has remained not so for generations,” said David Coleman, president of the College Board, which oversees the AP program. “Really, what this is about is computer science breaking out of its narrow role.” Coleman acknowledged: “There’s more work to do.”
According to figures just released, from 2016 to 2017 the number of underrepresented minorities who took an AP Computer Science exam nearly tripled, from 8,283 to 22,199. The number of girls shot up from 12,642 to 29,708.While significant, this increase was not enough for those two groups to reach parity. Only 1 in 5 of those taking AP CS last year were underrepresented minorities and about 1 in 4 were women. The course opened doors on a school level as well. Maureen Reyes, the executive director of the AP program at the College Board, says that 100 new schools last year offered the new class as their first AP course ever.
Educators were cheering over newly released results from the College Board showing significant increases in the number of females, Latino and African-American students who took either the Advanced Placement computer science exam or the new computer science principles exam this spring.
Of the 111,262 high school students who took the College Board’s Advanced Placement computer science exams in May, 27 percent were girls, a jump from 23 percent last year. Twenty percent of the test-takers were Latino or African-American, up from 15 percent in 2016.
From USA Today:
Female, black and Latino student participation in Advanced Placement computer science exams has more than doubled in the past year, helped by the introduction of an AP course designed to introduce principles, according to a new report.
More than 29,700 female students took an AP computer science exam in 2017, a 135% increase from 2016 and a dramatic increase from the 2,600 female students that took the AP Computer Science exam 10 years ago, according to results released by non-profit Code.org Tuesday.
From Ed Tech:
[More young women took an Advanced Placement Computer Science exam last year than in 2007 through 2013 combined, thanks largely to a new course designed with them in mind. Last summer, College Board announced AP Computer Science Principles, a course that views computing through a creative and collaborative lens. It only requires curiosity — instead of previous knowledge of programming — with the hopes of attracting a more diverse group of students.
In its first year, the course was an overwhelming success. EdSurge reports that 29,708 girls and 22,199 underrepresented minorities took the exam, representing a 100 percent increase for both groups.
From The New York Times:
Computer Science Principles is modeled on college versions for nonmajors. It lets teachers pick any coding language and has a gentler vibe. There is an exam, but students also submit projects “more similar to a studio art portfolio,” Mr. Packer said. The course covers working with data and understanding the internet and cyber security, and it teaches “transferable skills,” he said, like formulating precise questions. That’s a departure from what the College Board found in many high schools: “They were learning how to keyboard, how to use Microsoft applications.” The goal is that the new course will be offered in every high school in the country.
From Education Week:
[AP CSP teacher] Art Lopez said he's been encouraged by the way his students have embraced the course. "Computer science teaches kids how to think," he said. "I've seen it time and time again where my kids are improving their skills in math, their ability to communicate, read, and write, and it's all because of computer science because it teaches you about logic and how to problem solve."
From U.S. News & World Report:
Even though [Newbury Park High School graduate Michael Liu] says he was already knowledgeable about the subject prior to taking the course, and was simultaneously enrolled in AP Computer Science A, "what I hadn't done was apply … the skills I picked up to do random creative things," he says. "When I took [AP Computer Science Principles], that was the new experience I got."
From 2014 onward, [AP head Trevor Packer] and his team endeavored to work with teachers to create a course that focused less on a particular language like Java, and more on general computing concepts, like algorithms and variables.
The result—AP Computer Science Principles—is “designed to meet students where they are, getting them to use algorithms and data, and enhance their own passion in computer science,” Packer says.
From Education Dive:
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval this week became the latest to commit to computer science education for all of his state’s students. Starting next year, every single district in Nevada will offer Computer Science Principles, an Advanced Placement course the College Board launched this fall.
From Black Enterprise:
[AP CSP teacher Chinma Uche] said, “While rigorous, AP CSP has attracted more students and teachers to CS, and has even expanded enrollment in the solely programming course, AP CS A. I have seen AP CSP transform students’ lives.”