The College Board hopes its new program will bring women and minorities into the fold.
Less than 10 percent of computer scientists are African-Americans and Hispanics, and only 18 percent of women major in computer science, the National Science Foundation reveals.
With statistics like those, it seems likely that most new jobs in computing — the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 1.4 million are expected to be created by 2020 — won’t be filled by women or minorities.
The College Board, the not-for-profit organization that administers the SAT exam and Advanced Placement program, wants to change that. Its new AP Computer Science Principles course will examine computing as a creative activity and help students to understand fundamental principles through collaboration. Unlike the existing AP Computer Science A, the College Board reports this program doesn’t require students to bring a passion for technology and a basic knowledge of programming languages — simple curiosity is enough.
AP Computer Science Principles was designed specifically by the College Board and the National Science Foundation to make computing accessible and entice those underrepresented demographics into computer science. The College Board’s own data echoes the deficit in the tech industry: The nonprofit reported that last year, boys who took the AP Computer Science A exam outnumbered girls 4 to 1. A data analysis done by Georgia Tech revealed that 10 states that had fewer than 10 girls take the exam and 23 states that had fewer 10 African-American students take it.