Advanced Placement courses often offer a gateway to some the education’s most privileged professions. According to a new analysis of test-taking data, white males dominant the Advanced Placement exam in computer science in certain states.
In fact, no African-American students took the exam in a total of 11 states, and no Hispanic students took it in eight states, according to state comparisons of College Board data compiled by Barbara Ericson, the director of computing outreach and a senior research scientist at Georgia Tech.
The College Board, which oversees AP, notes on its website that in 2013 about 30,000 students total took the AP exam for computer science, a course in which students learn to design and create computer programs. Less than 20 percent of those students were female, about 3 percent were African American, and 8 percent were Hispanic (combined totals of Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and other Hispanic).
A spokeswoman for the College Board statement that computing courses have historically been dominated by white male students. Ericson’s breakdown offer a prominent illustration of racial and gender inequities at the high school level.
The College Board has increased its focus on making the test more accessible to groups who have traditionally been underrepresented.
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