A new state bill could boost interest in AP computer science.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill opening the door for schools across the state to count Advanced Placement (AP) computer science as a math or science credit. The law’s goal is to improve and expand access to computer science education, a high demand skill in Washington’s technology-fueled economy.

Prior to the law, AP computer science, often one of the most difficult classes offered, did not count as a math or science credit. Instead it counted as an elective. By granting the course academic credit, the bill aims to encourage more students to take the course and many more schools to offer it.

Currently, only 35 of the state’s 622 high schools offer AP computer science. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Drew Hansen, Rep. Cyrus Habib, Rep. Roger Freeman, and Rep. Chad Magendanz, passed the Legislature with nearly unanimous support.

(Next page: Reaction to the new law, and what a report says about computer science education)