CSTA Research

Gender Imbalance: Participation by Women on the 2011 AP CS Exam

Each year, the College Board provides state-by-state statistics for each Advanced Placement (AP) exam, broken down by various demographics. The numbers of women taking the AP Computer Science exam in 2011 are illustrative of the continuing gender imbalance in computing. The table linked below organizes the 50 states and District of Columbia according to the percentage of AP CS exam takers who were women. The percentages of women across all AP exams are also listed for comparison, as well as the overall percentage of exams that AP CS constitutes for each state.

While nearly 55% of all AP exam takers are women, the percentage for AP Computer Science is much lower, only 19%, with a median percentage across all states of 15.4%. It is interesting to note that two states, Texas and California, account for more than 31% of all AP CS exams and both have higher than average participation by women (24% and 21%, respectively). If the numbers from these two states are omitted, the remaining percentage of AP CS participation by women for the rest of the country is 17.3%.

The numbers in this table are collected from the College Board state-by-state data files, located here.

To download the Table (PDF), click here.

To download the Table (Excel), click here.

Comparing the State Rates of APCS Participation & Enrollment by Race
Joanna Goode
April 29, 2011

This analysis compares the racial enrollment rates of high school students to the racial participation rates of students in the Advanced Placement Computer Science Test. For each state, the percentage of enrollment and percentage of APCS participation for each of the racial groups is provided in Table 1. The "Participation Rate" is a ratio to compare the rate of participation in APCS as compared to the enrollment rate. A rate of "1" means that the same ratio of students are represented in APCS as in the general high school enrollment, a number less than than "1" represents an under-enrollment in APCS, and a number greater than "1" denotes an overrepresentation of students in the APCS course.

Table 2 summarizes this information for underrepresented students of color, including American Indians, African Americans, and Latinos.

The states are listed in an increasing order to show the lowest to highest participation rates of students of color in APCS as compared to school enrollment. Thus, this analysis highlights that Ohio has the worst participation rate of students of color (.13), while Arkansas has the highest rate of students of color (.59).

Data Methodology
The enrollment data is from the 2008-09 school year and provided by the National Center for Educational Statistics, the most recent year available. The APCS participation data is provided by the College Board and is based on the spring 2010 examination. Only states with more than 100 APCS exam-takers are included in this analysis.

To download the APCS Table, click here.

Recent Research Articles

Click on an article's title to download the PDF.

In this paper, we report on the research and recommendations of the CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association) Teacher Certification Task Force, addressing the crisis in computer science teacher preparation and certification. This paper will address the importance of computer science as a scientific discipline, and provide a brief discussion of the relevant research and current existing certification models. Primarily, however, this paper focuses on the Task Force's recommended models for teacher preparation and certification in computer science.

This paper addresses the results of two surveys conducted by the Computer Science Teachers Association between 2004 and 2008. The purpose of these two surveys was to collect foundational data about the state of high school computer science education in the United States. The paper provides a wealth of information with regard to the types and content of courses offered, trends in student enrollment (including gender and ethnic representation), and teacher certification and professional development. The results of these studies are consistent with current research pointing to issues of concern in such areas as the number of schools offering computer science courses, the engagement of underrepresented student populations, and the availability of professional development opportunities for computer science teachers.

ACM K-12 Task Force Committee Curriculum Survey Results

Allen Tucker's Committee on [non-AP] Computing Curricula survey looks at a select number of issues relating to course offerings, curriculum, and certification. It was conducted in 2002 using the AP listserv and HS computing teachers on ISTE's (International Society for Technology in Education) SIGCSE.

Java Learning Needs

This section provides the results of a survey conducted by developers of the Java Engagement for Teacher Training Project. It was intended to identify potential skills gaps by exploring which computer science and object oriented concepts teachers considered themselves familiar with, and which ones they were concerned about teaching.



CSTA works at many levels to support computing education.

Elementary and Middle school
(problem solving &
computational thinking)

High school
(computing &
computer science)

(enrollment &

(engagement &