The launch of AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) was the most successful launch of any AP course in history and has led to a dramatic increase in the number of students from all backgrounds engaging in computer science and broadening career opportunities. AP CSP is the driving force behind the growth in AP computer science in high schools.
Students who take AP CSP are introduced to the foundational concepts of computer science and challenged to explore how computing and technology impact the world. Programming and other aspects of computing are taught in the course; however, students do not need to have previous coding experience to take AP CSP.
Underrepresented Students in AP Computer Science
For the second year in a row, Advanced Placement® Program data show a substantial rise in black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, female, and rural high school students taking one or more AP Exam(s) in computer science (AP Computer Science A or AP Computer Science Principles) and earning a score of 3 or higher on at least one exam.
Black/African American Students
Black or African American students saw the most growth year-over-year. The number of students taking an AP computer science exam increased 44%, from 5,057 in 2017 to 7,301 in 2018. From 2017 to 2018, AP CSP participation expanded by 70% from 2,981 to 5,082. The number of black/African American students scoring a 3 or higher in AP CSP went up 61%.
Hispanic/Latino students were close behind. AP computer science participation increased 41%, 20,954 in 2018 from14,860 in 2017. AP CSP participation among Hispanic/Latino students grew 68% from 8,334 last year to 14,020 in 2018. Also, there was a 60% gain from last year in the number of Hispanic/Latino students who scored a 3 or higher on the AP CSP Exam.
The number of female students who took an AP computer science exam increased 39%, from 27,395 in 2017 to 38,195 in 2018. There was a 70% jump in the number of female students taking the AP CSP Exam from 13,328 in 2017 to 22,721 in 2018. In addition, the number of female students scoring 3 or higher on the AP CSP Exam rose 66%.
The number of rural students taking AP computer science exams increased from 10,007 in 2017 to 14,194 in 2018, a spike of 42%. Rural students saw the most gains in AP CSP participation with a 73% increase from 5,045 in 2017 to 8,705 in 2018. The number of rural students scoring at least a 3 on the AP CSP Exam rose 59% from last year.
Computer Science Gains in Nevada and Kentucky
Nevada and Kentucky have partnered with the College Board to bring AP Computer Science Principles to many more schools in their states.
In Nevada, student participation in AP CSP grew by 127% from 2017 to 2018, more than doubling the national expansion rate of 62%. During this same time period, female participation in the state grew by 175% and Hispanic/Latino participation grew by 179%. In addition, 59% of AP CSP examinees in Nevada earned a 3, 4, or 5 on the exam in 2018.
In Kentucky, 45 new schools offered AP CSP in 2017-18, more than doubling the 43 schools that offered AP CSP beginning in 2016-17. And for the 2018-19 school year, 40 additional teachers from 39 schools have been trained to teach AP CSP.
Kentucky student participation in the new AP CSP course more than doubled, growing by 112%, from 2017 to 2018. During this same time period, female participation in the state grew by 101%, low-income student participation increased by 81%, and rural student participation grew by 206%. In addition, 63% of AP CSP examinees in Kentucky earned a 3, 4, or 5 on the exam in 2018.