Girls are not often taking the computer science Advanced Placement exam, and this is despite the fact that there was a 35 percent increase in the total number of students taking the test between 2013 and 2014. However, there was not a corresponding number of female students who sat the exam in 2014.
In 2014, EdWeek.org reported that Wyoming and Montana had no female test takers in 2014. Almost 1,600 girls took the computer science AP exam in California. That concerns companies like appendTo, who need more and more developers for their clients.
The rate of increase of students who sat the AP computer science exam was faster than those who took all of the 34 AP exams. Just 20 percent of all students who took the AP computer science test in 2014 were girls. In 2013, the percentage was 19 percent. This is not a significant increase.
Female students are not the only ones not taking the computer science test in increasing numbers. Racial minorities are also underrepresented. Kansas did not have any students take the computer science test at all in 2014, but the state has a 7 percent black population in the 2014 senior class. In states with small percentages of black students, most of them had at least some students sit the exam. There were six states with low percentages of Hispanic students who also did not take the exam.
If your daughter wants to learn how to code, check out local and online resources to encourage her in her pursuit. Nonprofit organizations around the country offer classes specifically geared toward female students and learning to code. Free or for-a-fee courses are also available online. If her school offers a computer science or coding class or club, support her interests by encouraging her to join.
Your daughter can learn computer science and perhaps sit the computer science AP exam. This will give her college credit, and passing it can encourage her to pursue the next step in her computer science career as well as inspire the next generation of female computing professionals.