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The Whole Story Behind Low AP CS Exam Stats 325

theodp writes "At first glance, the headline in The Salt Lake Tribune — Very Few Utah Girls, Minorities Take Computer Science AP Tests — appears to be pretty alarming. As does the headline No Girls, Blacks, or Hispanics Take AP Computer Science Exam in Some States over at Education Week. Not One Girl Took The AP Computer Science Test In Some States warns a Business Insider headline. And so on and so on and so on. So how could one quibble with tech-giant backed's decision to pay teachers a $250 "Female Student Bonus", or Google's declaration that 'the ultimate goal of CS First is to provide proven teaching materials, screencasts, and curricula for after-school programs that will ignite the interest and confidence of underrepresented minorities and girls in CS,' right? But the thing is, CollegeBoard AP CS exam records indicate that no Wyoming students at all took an AP CS exam (xls) in 2013, and only a total of 103 Utah students (xls) had reported scores. Let's not forget about the girls and underrepresented minorities, but since AP CS Exam Stats are being spun as a measure of CS education participation (pdf) and equity, let's not forget that pretty much everyone has been underrepresented if we look at the big AP CS picture. If only 29,555 AP CS scores were reported (xls) in 2013 for a HS population of about 16 million students, shouldn't the goal at this stage of the game really be CS education for all?"
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The Whole Story Behind Low AP CS Exam Stats

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  • So, whom to H8? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:41AM (#46013093) Homepage Journal
    Newspaper editors for writing catchy headlines,
    researchers for writing research that both asks hard questions and lands funding, or
    voters for permitting the government to underwrite such research in the first place?

    I say blame the voters, who (a) are getting away with way too much these days, and (b) are unlikely to hit back.
  • the real reason (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:45AM (#46013141)
    Almost no colleges offer credit for taking AP tests regardless of score so high schoolers have absolutely no reason whatsoever to take those tests. You can either study for just your real final exams that actually go into your grades or you can add in an even harder test that benefits you in no way. Hmm, tough one. Oh and they typically charge money to take the tests as well.
  • I took it in 1986 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crow ( 16139 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:06AM (#46013397) Homepage Journal

    I took the AP Computer Science exam in 1986. The class was very popular in my high school, but there wasn't room for a lot of students, so the class was offered during zero-hour, before most classes started. That meant to be in the class, you had to show up an hour early for school.

    And interestingly, this was at Boise High School, and Idaho is one of the states cited in the original article. Apparently there were still only 50 students taking the exam last year. We had a third of that number back in 1986 from just my school, though I suspect we were the only school in the state to offer the class.

  • Re:So, whom to H8? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @01:34PM (#46015333) Homepage Journal

    You have no idea what you are talking about. My wife has a degree in political science, I have friends that are engineers and geologists that are both women and Mormon.
    Funny how some bigotry is okay on slashdot.

  • Re: So, whom to H8? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JWW ( 79176 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @02:44PM (#46016043)

    The question I have is: If more students took the AP Computer Science Test, would tech companies stop asking for more and more H1B visas?

  • by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @06:28PM (#46018621)

    Also, don't forget about the inverse negative.. Better qualified men being held back so that women can take their slots because...well they're women!

    What happened to simply using relevant attributes? That's how to attain equal opportunity.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.