St. Bede Academy in Peru has earned the College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles. Schools honored with recognition have expanded girls’ access in AP computer science courses.
More than 1,100 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 2021-22 school year.
In 2022, St. Bede Academy was one of 832 schools recognized in the category of AP Computer Science Principles.
“We’re thrilled to congratulate our female AP computer science students and their teachers on this step toward gender parity in computer science education,” said St. Bede Academy Principal Nick McLaughlin. “We’re honored that our school earned this distinction and look forward to seeing these young women and others pursue and achieve success in computer science education and careers.”
“Computer science is the source code of our economy and so much of our daily lives,” said Trevor Packer, College Board Head of the AP program. “In the five years since we began the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award, it’s been heartening to see schools like St. Bede Academy welcome so many more young women into this vital field.”
The first year of AP Computer Science Principles in 2016-17 attracted more students than any other AP course debut, and participation is on the rise. In 2022, 134,651 students took the AP CSP exam - more than triple the number of exam takers in the course’s first year.
In 2022, 44,811 women took the AP CSP exam - more than three times the number who tested in 2017.
Providing female students with access to computer science courses is critical to ensuring gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and to driving innovation, creativity and representation. The median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $97,430 in May 2021. However, women represent just 24% of the five million people in computing occupations.
That’s why College Board research about AP CSP is so encouraging. According to the data, female students who take AP CSP in high school are more than five times as likely to major in computer science in college, compared to female students of similar background and academic preparation who did not take CSP. The study 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. Overall, female students remain underrepresented in our high school computer science classes, accounting for just 33% of AP Computer Science Principles participants and 25% of AP Computer Science A participants. Currently, 51% of the nation’s high schools teach foundational computer science. The 1,105 schools that receive this year’s AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award serve as inspirations and models for all U.S. high schools.