It looks like Girls Who Code is going to need to beef up its outreach.
According to College Board data compiled by
Barbara Ericson, director of computing outreach and a senior research scientist at Georgia Tech, no female students took the Advanced Placement test in computer science in Mississippi, Montana, or Wyoming last year.
Around 30,000 students took the exam and only around 20% were female, according to the analysis, and 3% were black. Just 8% were Hispanic.
Pass rates overall for these groups were also below those of white males on the AP computer science exam, Ericson told Education Week. Students in those three groups “are not taking the exam in representative numbers, but even the ones that are taking it are not necessarily passing,” she said.
Unsettling? Yes. Surprising? Maybe not.
One reason for the lack of diversity could be that computer science classes are mostly offered in suburban or private schools, which tend to not be as diverse, Ericson said. About 2,300 high schools are officially recognised by the College Board as offering AP computer science for 2013 and 2014.
Another reason is that only 17 states now accept computer science as a core maths or science credit, she said.
But still. If we want to see more women in tech, then it needs to start at the high school level, or even earlier. Hopefully the numbers increase this year with programs such as Girls Who Code, and others like it.