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 computer science high school 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.

2017 Outcomes

General

The total number of students in CS increased as compared to 2016:

Female student participation in CS increased as compared to 2016:

Underrepresented minority student participation in CS increased as compared to 2016:

CS passing rates (score 3+) were lower for female and underrepresented minority students in 2017.

All states (+ DC) saw an increase in the number of total CS exams taken in 2017, due to the addition of CS Principles.

Schools that offered CS increased as compared to 2016:

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 2017 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:

2017 State-Level Highlights

All states saw increases in the number of all CS exams

Female student participation at the state level

All states saw increases in the number of all CS exams

Underrepresented minority student participation at the state level

All states but 4 (Wyoming, South Dakota, Kansas, New Hampshire) saw an increases in the number of all CS exams

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.