Posts tagged ‘high school CS’

2014 AP Exam Score Distributions: AP CS had a big increase, bimodal scores

Barb will probably do her demographic analysis in the Fall. Gas Station Without Pumps analysis on raw scores is out now and is quite interesting.

The Computer Science A exam saw an increase of 33% in test takers, with about a 61% pass rate 3, 4, or 5. The exams scores were heavily bimodal, with peaks at scores of 4 and at 1.  I wonder whether the new AP CS courses that Google funded contributed more to the 4s or to the 1s. I also wonder whether the scores clustered by schools, with some schools doing a decent job of teaching Java syntax most of what the AP CS exam covers, so far as I can tell and some doing a terrible job, or whether the bimodal distribution is happening within classes also.  I suspect clustering by school is more prevalent. The bimodal distribution of scores was there in 2011, 2012, and 2013 also, so is not a new phenomenon.  Calculus BC sees a similar bimodal distribution in past years—the 2014 distribution is not available yet.

via 2014 AP Exam Score Distributions | Gas station without pumps.

July 13, 2014 at 8:25 am 1 comment

Why Counting CS as a Foreign Language Credit is a Bad Idea from CSTA Blog

Interesting and detailed response to the decision in Texas (and proposed in New Mexico and Kentucky) to count programming as a foreign language.

When these policy makers look at schools, they see that computer science is not part of the “common core” of prescribed learning for students. And then they hear that Texas has just passed legislation to enable students to count a computer science course as a foreign language credit and it seems like a great idea.

But all we have to do is to look at Texas to see how this idea could, at the implementation level, turn out to be an unfortunate choice for computer science education. Here are the unintended consequences

1. If a course counts as a foreign language course, it will be suggested that a new course must be created.

2. If a new course is created, chances are that it won’t fit well into any of the already existing course pathways for college-prep or CTE.

3. This new course will be added to the current confusing array of “computing” courses which students and their parents already find difficult to navigate.

4. There will be pressure brought to ensure that that course focuses somehow on a “language”. For the last ten years we have been trying to help people understand that computer science is more than programming. Programming/coding is to computer science as the multiplication table is to mathematics, a critical tool but certainly not the entire discipline.

5. If this new course is going to be a “language” course, we have to pick a language (just one). And so the programming language wars begin.

via Computer Science Teachers Association.

March 19, 2014 at 1:06 am 5 comments

Arkansas candidate for Governor: Teach CS in all high schools

Thanks to Duncan Buell for this:

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Asa Hutchinson is calling for expanded teaching of computer science in Arkansas’ public schools.

Hutchinson on Monday proposed changing state law to allow math or science credit for computer science courses in high school. Hutchinson said he believed changing the law would give schools an incentive to offer the courses and encourage more students to take them.

Hutchinson also called for expanded training of teachers for computer science courses with the goal of teaching of it in every high school in the state within four years.

via LITTLE ROCK, Ark.: Hutchinson: Expand computer science in schools | Technology |

January 14, 2014 at 11:40 am 2 comments

AT&T Donates $1.6 Million to Expand Software Engineering Curriculum in NYC High Schools

Interesting where AT&T is making its investments: $1.6M from AT&T to expand access to software engineering curriculum in high school, in comparison with $2M to setup OMS at GT.

Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced that AT&T will donate $1.6 million to expand software engineering curriculum for students in 12 New York City public high schools across the five boroughs. The contribution to the Fund for Public Schools builds on the work of the Software Engineering Pilot and will support the launch of a new enrichment program for 9th graders, paid summer internships for high school students and other academic activities like boot camps and hackathons.

The initiative is a next step in the Administration’s work to develop programs that provide students with skills they need to thrive in college and to enter the computer and engineering workforce. The Mayor and Chancellor made the announcement at the Urban Assembly Gateway for Technology School in Manhattan, where the programming will begin next year. They were joined by Chief Digital Officer Rachel Haot, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball and AT&T New York State President Marissa Shorenstein.

via AT&T Donates $1.6 Million to Expand Software Engineering Curriculum in NYC High Schools.

January 2, 2014 at 1:15 am Leave a comment

Detailed AP CS 2013 Results: Unfortunately, much the same

Guest post from Barbara Ericson:

I have finished compiling the data for 2013 for AP CS A.  You can download the spreadsheet from  The spreadsheet has 3 sheets with detailed data by race and gender. The first sheet is from 2006 to 2013 for selected states. The second sheet is the race and gender information for every state for 2013. The third sheet is the race and gender information for every state for 2012.

Here are some interesting findings from this data:

  • No females took the exam in Mississippi, Montana, and Wyoming.
  • For states that had some females take the exam the percentage female ranged from 3.88% in Utah to 29% in Tennessee.
  • 11 states had no Black students take the exam: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
  • The following states had the most Black students taking the exam: 1) Maryland with 170, 2) Texas with 132, 3) Georgia with 129, 4) Florida with 83, 5) Virginia with 78, 6) California with 74, 7) New York with 68, 8) New Jersey with 34 9) Mass with 34 and 10) North Carolina with 28. The pass rates for Black student in these states: Maryland 27.06%, Texas 48.48%, Georgia 21.7%, Florida 19.28%, Virginia 28.21%, California 56.76%, New York 33.82%, New Jersey 47.06%, Mass 38.24%, and North Carolina 21.43%.
  • The pass rate for Black students in states that had at least 5 Black students take the exam ranged from 19% (Florida) to 75% (Alabama) with 6 of 8 passing.
  • 8 states had no Hispanic students take the exam: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
  • The following states had the most Hispanic students taking the exam: 1) Texas with 751, 2) California with 392, 3) Florida with 269 , 4) New York with 150, 5) Illinois with 142, 6) New Jersey with 96, 7) Virginia with 90, 8) Maryland with 88, 9) Georgia with 71, and 10) Mass with 56. In report the Hispanic numbers I cam combining the College Board categories of Mexican American, Other Hispanic, and Puerto Rican. The pass rate for Hispanic students in these states: Texas 44.47%, California 47.45%, Florida 44.61%, New York 35.33%, Illinois 39.44%, New Jersey 52.08%, Virginia 46.67%, Maryland 44.32%, Georgia 40.85%, and Mass 39.29%

You can also see historical data for all states for AP CS A at

Barbara Ericson
Director, Computing Outreach
College of Computing
Georgia Tech

January 1, 2014 at 1:12 am 27 comments

SXSWedu Panel Discussion: Engaging Students with CS Education #CSEdWeek

Nice to hear that computing education will be at SXSW.

I’m pleased to announce that my SXSWedu proposal “Engaging Students with Computer Science Education” has been accepted as a panel discussion! Here is a brief abstract describing the purpose of the session:

“Current trends show a loss of student interest in computer science careers and degrees across the U.S., especially among women and minorities, even though the need for qualified candidates in this field has never been greater. Across the country, computer science experts, computer science educators, researchers, and even policymakers are developing initiatives that address these problems.

In this panel, the leaders of three such initiatives will share their perspectives on computer science education, gender and diversity in the field, and high-quality instructional design for computer science students and teachers alike. Their respective programs, Project Engage (University of Texas, Austin), Exploring Computer Science: Los Angeles (UCLA), and New Mexico Computer Science for All (University of New Mexico) represent the latest large-scale efforts in computer science education. Educators, practitioners, and researchers can all learn from their collective expertise.”

via SXSWedu Panel Discussion – Engaging Students with Computer Science Education | ain’t what it used to be.

December 12, 2013 at 1:58 am Leave a comment

CSTA Blog: Critical Questions for CS Ed Research #CSEdWeek

An interesting set of research questions!

This weekend CSTA Chair Deborah Seehorn and I were attending the ACM Education Council meetings and, as part of the meeting, we participated in a group discussion about critical questions in computer science education research led by CSTA Past Chair Steve Cooper.

Our discussion group consisted of Deborah Seehorn from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Steve Cooper from Stanford University, Dan Garcia from Berkeley, and myself. Because we all have deep roots in K-12 computer science education, the list of questions we came up with covered a breadth of issues and reflect the deep need for research-grounded solutions to the issues we now face.

via Computer Science Teachers Association: Critical Questions for CS Education Research.

December 9, 2013 at 1:04 am 5 comments

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