Hesperia High School Recognized for Closing the Gender Gap in Computer Science A and Computer Science Principles
Hesperia, California─Hesperia High School has earned the College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science A (CSA) and AP Computer Science Principles (CSP). Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP computer science courses.
More than 1,000 institutions achieved either 50% or higher female representation in AP computer science courses or a percentage of the female computer science exam takers meeting or exceeding that of the school’s female population during the 2020-21 school year. In 2021, Hesperia High School was one of only 61 to be recognized for closing the gender gap in both AP computer science courses.
The first year of AP Computer Science Principles in 2016-17 attracted more students than any other AP course debut, and participation is on the rise. In 2021, more than 116,000 students took the AP CSP Exam—more than double the number of exam takers in the course’s first year. In 2021, 39,218 women took the AP CSP Exam, nearly three times the number who tested in 2017. AP Computer Science A, which first debuted in 1988, continues to grow. In 2021, 74,676 students took the AP CSA exam, including 18,918 women--a 33% increase in female participation since 2017.
Providing female students with access to computer science courses is necessary to ensuring gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and to driving innovation, creativity, and representation. The median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $91,250 in May 2020. However, a code.org analysis of 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics data finds women represent just 24% of the five million people in computing occupations. Computing jobs are the number one source of new wages in the U.S., although 67% of all new jobs in STEM are in computing, only 11% of STEM bachelor’s degrees are in computer science.
According to a Google study, 54% of female computer science majors took AP CSA in high school. College Board research about AP CSP also finds AP CSP students are nearly twice as likely to enroll in AP CSA, and that for most students, AP CSP serves as a stepping stone to other advanced AP STEM coursework.
These findings highlight the importance of schools nationwide achieving gender parity in AP computer science classrooms. Overall, female students remain underrepresented in our high school computer science classes, accounting for just 34% of AP Computer Science Principles participants and 25% of AP Computer Science A participants. Currently, 51% of high schools teach foundational computer science. The 1,020 schools that receive this year’s AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award serve as inspirations and models for all U.S. high schools.