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FINDINGS

The data on underrepresented student participation.

Underrepresented students comprised a low percent of AP CS exams

Computer Science A
16%
of exams were taken by underrepresented students.

This is the 7th lowest rate of participation for any AP exam (calculus, physics and languages have lower rates) and 4th lowest in AP STEM exams.
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Computer Science Principles
26%
of exams were taken by underrepresented students.

This is the 2nd highest rate of underrepresented student participation across STEM AP exams (Environmental Science is higher at 28%).
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All CS Exams

20% of all CS exams were taken by underrepresented students. The pass rate was lower than the students in the majority:

Computer Science A
44%
exam passing rate for underrepresented students.

Exam passing rate was lower than the students in the majority by -28%. Black students scored lower at an average score of 2.08, with a mean difference of 1.40 as compared to students in the majority.
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Computer Science Principles
53%
exam passing rate for underrepresented students.

Exam passing rate was lower than the students in the majority by -29%. Black students scored lower at an average score of 2.32, with a mean difference of 1.15 as compared to the students in the majority.
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For 2017 College Board data, we consider the following ethnic group categories to be underrepresented students: 

 American Indian/Alaska Native
 Black
 Hispanic/Latino
 Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 

The majority is defined as
 White and Asian students.

(Other categories reported by the College Board are Asian, White, Two or more races, Other, and No response.) 

Note that until 2016, the College Board reported demographics using different categories; for those years, the following ethnic group categories are considered to be underrepresented students: American Indian, Black, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and Other Hispanic. (Other ethnic categories reported by the College Board include Asian, White, Other, and Not stated.) 

teacher voices

In light of the Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science A courses, the number of Computer Science teachers continues to lack. According to Science Magazine (2017),


“As state and local educators adopt new computer science requirements for their students, they are stymied by a lack of qualified teachers.”

This research (like most) finds that computer science is largely taught by mathematics teachers. Via this project interviews and focus groups, teachers offer insights into the current trend (that is, more students interested in computing and increasingly strained school resources).
Computer science access and availability to underrepresented minorities remains a challenge – given the numbers above. Here is what educators are saying:

"We need CS (more) curricula. Our state does not have CS standards. We need IT, Math… and CTE can then follow."

-High School Teacher, from study CNS#1740141

"The pathway is math. For math, “minority students don’t get the math. But when they do, they say “I don’t want to be by myself. "

-High School Teacher, from study CNS#1740141

"There is NO teacher certification for CS. The whole system focuses on CTE not CS. The CTE certification has nothing to do with IT, IS or CS. "

-High School Teacher, from study CNS#1740141

"We have turned kids away because I am the only teacher in CS on the software side. We must hire others…"

-High School Teacher, from study CNS#1740141
National Data