January 25, 2022
GCS Earns Female Diversity Award
Glenelg Country School (GCS) has earned the College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science A. Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP computer science courses.
More than 1,000 institutions achieved either 50% or higher female representation in one of the two AP computer science courses or a percentage of the female computer science exam takers meeting or exceeding that of the school’s female population during the 2020–21 school year. In 2021, GCS was one of 199 recognized in the category of AP Computer Science A.
“We’re thrilled to congratulate our female computer science students and teachers on this step toward gender parity in computer science education,” said Matt Walsh, head of school. “We’re honored that Glenelg Country School earned this distinction and look forward to seeing these young women and others pursue and achieve success in computer science education and careers.”
“By encouraging young women to study advanced computer science coursework, GCS is closing the gap in computer science education and empowering young women to access the opportunities available in STEM career fields,” says Stefanie Sanford, College Board chief of Global Policy and External Relations. “Computer science is the foundation of many 21st-century career options, and young women deserve equal opportunities to pursue computer science education and drive technological innovation.”
AP Computer Science A (CSA) students learn to design and implement computer programs that solve problems relevant to today’s society. AP Computer Science A, which first debuted in 1988, continues to grow and female participation has increased 33% since 2017. Overall AP computer science course participation has increased 79% since 2017, broadening STEM career opportunities for more students.
Providing female students with access to computer science courses is critical to ensuring gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and to drive innovation, creativity, and representation. The median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $91,250 in May 2020. However, a code.org analysis of 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics data finds women represent just 24% of the five million people in computing occupations. Computing jobs are the number one source of new wages in the U.S., although 67% of all new jobs in STEM are in computing, only 11% of STEM bachelor’s degrees are in computer science.
According to a Google study, 54% of female computer science majors took AP CSA in high school. College Board research about AP CSP also finds AP CSP students are nearly twice as likely to enroll in AP CSA, and that for most students, AP CSP serves as a stepping stone to other advanced AP STEM coursework.
These findings highlight the importance of schools nationwide achieving gender parity in AP computer science classrooms. Female students remain underrepresented in our high school computer science classes, accounting for just 34% of AP Computer Science Principles participants and 25% of AP Computer Science A participants. Currently, 51% of high schools teach foundational computer science. The 1,020 schools that receive this year’s AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award serve as inspirations and models for all U.S. high schools.