Colorado Academy has earned the first College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles. Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP Computer Science courses. Out of more than 18,000 secondary schools worldwide that offer AP courses, CA is one of only 685 to accomplish this. Over the last five years, CA’s Advanced Computer Science courses have seen more than a 450 percent increase in enrollment by girls.
“We are so pleased to see the huge growth in female enrollment in Computer Science at CA,” says Upper School Computer Science and Technology Coordinator Kimberly Jans. “This significant growth has been fueled by the comprehensive Computer Science programs in both CA’s Lower and Middle schools. Women still are underrepresented in the computer science workforce, so it is so exciting to see CA leading the way to change these demographics!”
In addition to the Diversity Award, the National Center for Women & Information Technology named several CA students to its list of “Aspirations in Computer Science Winners 2019,” including Jasmine Bilir, who was a Runner-up for a National Award, and Jane Doherty, Jordan Davidson, Alex Foreman, Aly Gallagher, and Zoe Worrall, Colorado Winners and Runners-up.
AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award
Schools receiving the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have either 50 percent or higher female representation in one of the two AP computer science courses or a percentage of the female computer science examinees meeting or exceeding that of the school’s female population. Only 490 schools earned the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for AP Computer Science Principles.
“By inviting many more young women to advanced computer science classrooms, CA has taken a significant step toward preparing all students for the widest range of 21st century opportunities,” says Trevor Packer, College Board senior vice president of the AP Program. “We hope this inspires many other high schools to engage more female students in AP Computer Science and prepare them to drive innovation.”
The AP Computer Science Principles course launch in 2016 was the largest in program history, and the course has promoted the growth of AP computer science in high schools. Participation in AP computer science courses has increased 135 percent since 2016, broadening STEM career opportunities for more students. The number of female, rural, and underrepresented minority students taking AP computer science exams has more than doubled in that period.
Providing female students with access to computer science courses contributes to gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and drives innovation, creativity, and competition. According to UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics data, less than 30 percent of the world’s researchers are women. Research shows women are more likely to pursue computer science if they’re given the opportunity to explore it in high school.