Dig Deeper into AP Computer Science

The AP Computer Science exams are widely accepted by the computer science education community as one of the most reliable measures of high school computer science course-taking patterns. The College Board’s rigorous methodology and data gathering has enabled us to see trends in AP Computer Science A exam-taking over time, by state, by gender, and by ethnic group; as well as the impact of AP Computer Science Principles course, which launched in the 2016-17 school year. This page contains a summary of that data.

This data comes directly from the public spreadsheets available on a per-state basis from the College Board.

AP Computer Science Over Time

Change in ethnic group categories: In 2016, the College Board changed the ethnic group categories that they report. Prior to 2016, we considered the following to be underrepresented minority groups: American Indian, Black, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and Other Hispanic. After 2016, we considered the following categories: American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander.

In order to download the raw data, click the download icon (a square with an arrow pointing downward) in the bottom right corner of the figure. Be sure to click somewhere on the figure before clicking this icon -- otherwise, the "Data" option will be grayed out. Click "Data", then select the "Full data" tab. Click "Download all rows as text file" to download the data as a CSV.

2018 Outcomes

General

The total number of exams taken in CS increased as compared to 2017:

Female student participation in CS increased as compared to 2017:

Underrepresented minority student participation in CS increased as compared to 2017:

CS passing rates (score 3+) were lower for female and underrepresented minority students in 2018. Biggest performance gaps seen in underrepresented minority students.

47 states (including DC) saw an increase in the number of total CS exams taken in 2018 (except ID, ND, SD, UT)

Nationally schools that offered CS increased as compared to 2017:

Female student participation

Female students comprised a low percent of AP CS exams:

Female student passing rate was lower than male students:

Underrepresented minority student participation

For 2018 College Board data, we consider the following ethnic group categories to be underrepresented minorities: American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander. (Other categories reported by the College Board are Asian, White, Two or more races, Other, and No response.) Note that until 2016, the College Board reported demographics using different categories; for those years, the following ethnic group categories are considered to be underrepresented minorities: American Indian, Black, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and Other Hispanic. (Other ethnic categories reported by the College Board include Asian, White, Other, and Not stated.) The majority is defined as White and Asian students.

Underrepresented minority students comprised a low percent of AP CS exams:

Underrepresented minority student passing rate was lower than the students in the majority:

2018 State-level highlights

47 states (including DC) saw an increase in the number of total CS exams taken in 2018 (except ID, ND, SD, UT)

CS A: 39 states saw an increase in CS A exams (up by 10 states from 2017).

CS P: 47 states saw an increase in CS P exams. There were 8 states that saw a growth of at least 1000 CS P exams as compared to 2017 (CA, FL, TX, NY, IL, NJ, MI, NC).

All CS Exams: 14 states had increases of at least 50% in overall CS exams.

Female participation at the state level

46 states (including DC) saw an increase in the number of total CS exams taken by female students in 2018 (ID, ND, NM, VT, WV showed decreases).

CS A: 34 states saw an increase in CS A exams taken by female students (up by 2 states from 2017). 2 states had 0 female students take CS A exams (SD, MS).

CS P: 47 states saw an increase in female students taking CS P exams. MT had 0 female students take the CS P exam (Same as 2017).

All CS Exams: 19 states had increases of at least 50% in all CS exams taken by female students.

All CS Exams: in 38 states, male students had higher passing rates than female students (that’s 1 fewer state than 2017)

Underrepresented minority (URM) participation at the state level

45 states (including DC) saw an increase in the number of total CS exams taken by URM students in 2018 (ID, ND, ME, MT, WV showed decreases).

CS A: 29 states saw an increase in underrepresented minority students taking CS A exams (up 2 states from 2017) and 8 states at least doubled their participation. 3 states had zero CS A exams taken by URM students (MS, SD, WY).

CS P: 47 states saw an increase in underrepresented minority students taking CS P exams and 21 states more than doubled their participation. MT had 0 exams taken by URM students.

All CS Exams: 23 states had increases of at least 50% in all CS exams taken by URM students.

All CS Exams: There were NO states that showed minority students outperforming majorities (in 2017 there was 1 state).

Number of schools that offered AP CS A and/or AP CS P

47 states (including DC) saw an increase in the number of total schools offering one or both AP CS exams (ID, SD, UT, VT showed decreases).

CS A: 27 states saw increases in schools that offered CS A exams. (6 states remained the same as 2017 and 18 states saw percent change decreases)

CS P: 46 states saw increases in schools that offered CS P exams. (3 states remained the same as 2017 and 2 states saw percent change decreases)

CS A and/or CS P: 11 states saw at least a 50% increases in schools that offered any AP CS exam.

Deep Historical Analysis of State Data by Barb Ericson

Downloads

Code.org performed calculations and analysis on the data as provided on the public College Board AP data reports.