AP Computer Science exam rates among girls

Factoid Answer

In 1987, 34% of students who took the AP Computer Science exam were girls. What proportion of students who took the AP Computer Science exam in 2021 were girls?

  • 25%

Or to be precise, 25.4%. In 2016, a total of 74,495 students took the AP Computer Science A exam: of those, 18,918 (25.4%) were female; 55,577 were male. See https://reports.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/2021-ap-program-summary-report_1.pdf for these numbers.

For the past thirty years, we have been subjected to the dogma that the best way to eliminate gender stereotypes is to ignore gender differences. This dogma was never based in data, but in ideology. And the result of thirty years of indoctrination in this dogma is that we have LOST ground on this parameter: from 34% in 1987 to 25% in 2021. In fact, the best way to get most girls excited about computer science is different from the best way to get most boys excited about computer science. For more on this point, including scholarly references, please see chapter 5 of the first edition of my book Girls on the Edge. Or, I hope you will consider attending my presentation “Physics and Computer Science for Girls” where I share the strategies I have learned which greatly boost girls’ engagement in physics and computer science.


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