STEM progress? Big jump in girls and minorities taking AP computer science exam

Wed, 2017-07-26 12:22 -- Compassionate C...

We frequently write about efforts to encourage more girls and minorities to pursue career paths in science, engineering, technology and math (STEM). Recent examples include UL's free program that promotes STEM learning in middle schools and the new technology skills acquisition and development center in Lagos that Huawei Technologies teamed on to help alleviate poverty in the country. And then there's the interactive STEM app that Itron introduced last year.  Are efforts like these paying off?  The article below suggests perhaps they are. – Liz Enbysk is a Seattle-based nonprofit working to expand access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities in the tech industry. It is supported by some tech industry heavyweights, including Microsoft and Facebook.

The organization recently crunched the numbers from the AP College Board and discovered what it considers incredible results. As the Seattle Times reported:

  • 29,708 girls in the U.S. took the Advanced Placement computer science exam this year – that's more than double the number from 2016
  • 22,199 black, Latino and Native American students took the exam – that's nearly triple the number from 2016

Ten years ago, says, only 2,600 girls took the exam.

Still more work to do
"Participation in AP Computer Science is still far from balanced  -- female students still account for only 27% of all students taking AP Computer Science exams and underrepresented minorities make up just 20%," stated Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO. "This problem continues through to higher education, where 83% of university computer science majors are men, and into the workforce as well."

For its part, offers online courses for students, helps train teachers to teach computer science and promotes Hour of Code events for all ages in more than 180 countries.


This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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