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Before the launch of AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) in 2016, too few students saw a place for themselves in a STEM course. Females and underrepresented minorities, in particular, were underrepresented in AP computer science and in the field.

As the most successful launch of any course in AP history, AP CSP has dramatically increased the number of students exposed to computer science and broadened their understanding of how it might play into their future career. In 2007, 20,041 students took an AP Computer Science exam, by 2016 that number had grown to 57,937, but in just one year in 2017 that number rose to 103,797 students.  

AP CSP is focused on creativity, ideas, and new ways of thinking. AP CSP provides students with the time, space, and technical tools to begin using the principles of computing to explore and create solutions for their needs and interests. Programming and others aspects of computing are taught in the course; however, students don’t need previous coding experience to take AP CSP.

The number of females enrolled in a computer science–related AP course more than doubled from 2016 to 2017:

The number of Hispanic/Latino and Black/African American students enrolled in a computer science-related AP course more than doubled from 2016 to 2017:

The number of rural students taking an AP computer science exam more than doubled from 2016 to 2017:

*Rural designation is only available for public schools.

The popularity of the new AP Computer Science Principles course was coupled with the students’ performance success on the exam. Overall, 74.5% of students scored 3 or higher on the 2017 AP CSP Exam. Performance on AP Computer Science exams kept pace and in some cases exceeded expectations:

  • The number of female students earning a 3 or higher on an AP CS exam more than doubled between 2016 and 2017 with the addition of AP CSP.
  • The number of Hispanic/Latino students earning a 3 or higher on an AP CS exam almost tripled between 2016 and 2017 with the addition of AP CSP.
  • The number of African American students earning a 3 or higher on an AP CS exam almost tripled between 2016 and 2017 with the addition of AP CSP.

In its second year, 1,300 new schools offer AP CSP, bringing the total to 3,800 high schools worldwide.

Nevada and Kentucky partnered with the College Board to bring AP CSP to every school district in their states. For the 2017-2018 school year, KY doubled the number of schools offering CSP and combined both states added 50 new schools.

The College Board is expanding AP CSP to focus on low-income and rural students with support from The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.