Huge (unofficial) rise in AP CS Test Takers

June 11, 2012 at 8:08 am 6 comments

Last week was the AP CS Reading, where over 100 computing teachers read over students’ programs and graded them.  Several readers (including Barbara) have come back saying that the unofficial count for the number of tests this year was 26,000.  Compare that to 21,139 last year, and 19,390 the year before that.  We probably won’t have the official numbers until January, and we’ll get the demographic breakdown then, too.  A 20+% increase in a single year is remarkable!

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  June 11, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    While 26k is a nice increase from 21k, it is still tiny. That’s about the level of participation in Physics C: Mechanics, but the AP CS exam is more at the equivalent of Physics B or Chem, which have 46k and 123k. I think the goal is to have it be as ubiquitous as calculus (255k), so we’re still only a tenth of the way there.

    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  June 12, 2012 at 8:06 am

      Agreed that it’s still tiny, but it’s the biggest percentage increase in years. Thank God for small favors. What would it take to get a doubling? I have no idea.

      • 3. Cecily  |  June 12, 2012 at 1:45 pm

        My best guess at what it would take to get a doubling:
        1) Replace all of the inadequately prepared or un-engaging existing teaching with teachers who are properly prepared and engaging OR 2)create curriculum that could scale to places where there are not enough students to create a whole class(Southern Utah has quite a few random rural students like this).

        #1 is based on the fact that all of my upper division classes have doubled enrollment since I was hired(three classes total over 1.5 years, including Fall 2012). Also, I have worked with enough high school computing teachers to know that most are not adequately prepared and engaging.

        #2 is still pretty hypothetical, but seems like an interesting research direction, and like something that could be more plausible with more and more funding for online courses.

        As a side note, enrollment in my CS1 classes is up 20% over last year for Fall 2012.

  • 4. David Klappholz  |  June 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Any initial, informal, idea of gender balance?

    • 5. Mark Guzdial  |  June 12, 2012 at 8:05 am

      No — readers see the problems, not the demographic data. So, no guess at this stage.

  • […] Mark Guzdial was very pleased to find out that the number of students taking the AP computer science exam has grown from about 21,000 to about 26,000 this year: Huge (unofficial) rise in AP CS Test Takers « Computing Education Blog. […]


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