A new analysis of test-taking data finds that in Mississippi and Montana, no female, African American, or Hispanic students took the Advanced Placement exam in computer science.
In fact, no African-American students took the exam in a total of 11 states, and no Hispanic students took it in eight states, according to state comparisons of College Board data compiled by Barbara Ericson, the director of computing outreach and a senior research scientist at Georgia Tech.
The College Board, which oversees AP, notes on its website that in 2013 about 30,000 students total took the AP exam for computer science, a course in which students learn to design and create computer programs. Less than 20 percent of those students were female, about 3 percent were African American, and 8 percent were Hispanic (combined totals of Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and other Hispanic).
Deborah Davis, spokeswoman for the College Board, wrote in an email, “We were not surprised by Barbara Ericson’s findings because unfortunately, computing courses have historically been dominated by white, male students.”
Even so, Ericson’s breakdown of the test-takers offers a stark illustration of gender and racial inequities at the high school level. And it comes at a time when the College Board has stepped up its focus on seeing that traditionally underrepresented groups of students have access to AP courses and tests.
In the 47 states where girls took the computer science exam, the percentage of female test-takers ranged from about 4 percent in Utah to 29 percent in Tennessee.
Read full story: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2014/01/girls_african_americans_and_hi.html