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AP Computer Science Course Is Boosting CS Diversity

diverse group of students stand with an instructor in a hallway

The AP CSP course was the first AP STEM course for most Black, Latinx, and first-generation enrollees in 2019.

Credit: AP Central

The College Board's analysis of 2016 and 2019's high school graduating classes found its Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) course is boosting computer science diversity.

In 2019, 68% of Black students, 59% of Latinx students, and 60% of first-generation AP CSP enrollees were engaging in an AP science, technology, engineering, or math course for the first time. AP CSP teaches fundamentals of computer technology, the Internet, cybersecurity, and programming languages, plus creative problem-solving.

The only recommended prerequisite for the AP CSP course is Algebra I, which tells students coming into the class that "you already have the skills you need," says Maureen Reyes, executive director of AP placement at The College Board.

AP CSP learners were three times as likely to become CS majors in college, and twice as likely to take the programming language-focused AP CSA course. Launched in 2,500 schools in 2016, the course is now offered in over 6,000.

From Diverse: Issues In Higher Education
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