News

New AP course makes computing more engaging

By Laura Devaney
December 9th, 2014

Course from the College Board and the National Science Foundation launches during Computer Science Education Week

computing-courseThe College Board and the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently developed Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles, a course intended to address the challenge of making computing coursework more engaging and accessible for all students and to better prepare a pipeline of STEM majors. Schools will be able to begin offering the new AP course in the fall of 2016, with the first exam being administered in May 2017.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 9.2 million jobs in STEM are anticipated in 2020, and 4.6 million of them will be in computing. However, less than 2.4 percent of college students graduate with a degree in computer science, and among these students only a limited portion are women and underrepresented minorities.

Students who take AP math and science courses are more likely than non-AP students to earn degrees in STEM disciplines, making access to these courses particularly important. This relationship between AP courses and the choice of a STEM major holds true across several groups of students most underrepresented in STEM majors today: women and minorities.

(Next page: How the new course will broaden computing’s appeal)