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Expansion of AP Computer Science Courses Draws More Girls and Minorities


Tenth-graders in an Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles course.

An expansion of Advanced Placement computer science classes is helping to draw more girls and underrepresented minorities into a field of growing importance for schools, universities, and the economy.

Credit: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post

The College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) computer science classes are being expanded to attract more girls and underrepresented minorities in the U.S.

College Board president David Coleman stresses, "this is about...computer science (CS) breaking out of its narrow role."

The 2016 national launch of the College Board's AP Computer Science Principles course is seen as key to this growth, since it is designed to appeal to more diverse students.

Approximately 27% of about 100,000 AP computer science test-takers in spring 2017 were girls, while African Americans comprised 5% of those tested and Latino students 15%, which is well below their overall school enrollment averages.

"We're trying to diversify a field that for whatever reason has remained not so for generations," Coleman says. "There's more work to do."

Universities are invested in the success of the AP computer science program because they have long struggled to broaden the demographic base of CS students.

From The Washington Post
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