Detailed AP CS 2013 Results: Unfortunately, much the same

January 1, 2014 at 1:12 am 36 comments

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

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36 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mezopal  |  January 1, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Barb, thanks for sharing this. It would be great to see these as percentages compared against the general population of the respective states and the U.S.


    P.S. Happy New Year!

    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  January 1, 2014 at 11:03 am

      Monica, we have a SIGCSE paper coming out in March where we do exactly that analysis, as well as a regression analysis showing how wealth in a state influences AP CS exam taking behavior. Pre-print:

    • 5. Elizabeth  |  October 7, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      All I know is that there were no AP CS test takers in Wyoming, one in Mississippi and eleven in Montana. It makes the percentages much less worrisome.
      So really, in Wyoming we really need more white males to take the CS test. They represent exactly 0% of the total test takes.

  • 6. State CTE Policy Update « NASDCTEc Blog  |  January 9, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    […] Computing Education Blog analyzed the 2013 data on the AP Computer Science exam and found that in three states – Mississippi, […]

  • 7. Mark Guzdial  |  January 10, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    The story has been picked up by The Atlantic:

  • 8. Mark Guzdial  |  January 10, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    The College Board actually responded to Barbara’s results:

  • 9. Sunday Reads: Let them drink tap water… | Sky Dancing  |  January 12, 2014 at 8:27 am

    […] work in high school remain overwhelmingly white and male. According to data from the College Board compiled by Georgia Tech’s Barbara Ericson, only a small percentage of the high-schoolers taking the […]

  • 10. buddyglass  |  January 12, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Only one student in all of Mississippi took the CS A exam? That doesn’t seem quite right. I would expect the per capita results from Mississippi to be among the lost from all states, but one single solitary student?

    Is it possible that some states encourage their students to go straight for the AB exam and skip the “A” version?

    • 11. Mark Guzdial  |  January 12, 2014 at 9:05 am

      There is no AB. It was cancelled five years ago.

      • 12. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  January 12, 2014 at 12:07 pm

        Does anyone know *why* the CS AB was cancelled? I’ve always assumed it was because not enough students were taking it for College Board to make money, but they have some other tests with low numbers of takers. According to
        the CS AB was running around 5000 test takers a year when they killed it. Studio-3D Design has still not made it to 4k. German is running around 5k, Italian around 2k, Latin around 6k. So it isn’t just number of test takers and profits (unless outside agencies are subsidizing German and Italian).

        There are those who claim that APs are gradually getting dumbed-down to high school level, as a way to get more high schools to buy into them. The push for CS principles, the loss of CS AB, and the splitting of Physics B into Physics 1 and 2 seem to point in that direction. But the faster growth of Calculus BC than Calculus AB and of Physics C than Physics B point the opposite way.

        • 13. Alfred Thompson  |  January 12, 2014 at 5:17 pm

          When the CB announced the AB exam was going away they said it was so they could spend more time/money/effort on improving the single test and preparing teachers. Also they cited the low number of minority test takers. The NSF stepped in to fund development of a new AP CS exam (CS Principles) that they how will attract more minority test takers.

    • 14. Mark Guzdial  |  January 12, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      I asked Barbara if she knew what was going on in Mississippi, and she told me something I was amazed at: There are no AP CS teachers in *any* high schools in Mississippi! There are only two “schools” that passed the AP audit in Mississippi, and both are on-line-only virtual high schools. Yet another indication that face-to-face is different than on-line in CS education.

  • […] does her analysis of AP CS data every year, but for some reason, her 2013 analysis has really taken off with the media.  I’m going to use this post to track the ones […]

  • 16. Bob  |  January 13, 2014 at 11:56 am

    When comparing states, at least regarding race, you’ve really got to adjust for the state demographics. It’s not hugely surprising that there were no black test takers in Montana, for example, since the state’s has only about 4k black people, _in total_, vs. ~3 million in Texas.

    You can make the adjustment by comparing the % of students taking the test who are black vs. the % of the population that is. Doing that, we see that Mississippi radically underperforms (3700 basis point delta between population share and test taker share), as do LA, SC, AL, GA, and MD.

    • 17. Mark Guzdial  |  January 13, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Agreed, and we do that in our SIGCSE 2014 paper: Highlights that states like Kansas are really awful, e.g., 9% Hispanic with no Hispanic exam takers.

      • 18. Bob  |  January 13, 2014 at 2:51 pm

        Mark, actually, Kansas doesn’t do _that_ badly. It underperforms by 10.5% vs. its Hispanic population (vs. 8.2% for the US as a whole), which makes it 10th worst in the country. California and Texas do MUCH worse than Kansas (underperforming by 29.7% and 18.7%, respectively). Louisiana’s a bit of an odd one – second worst for black students (5% of test takers vs. 32% of the population), but BEST for Hispanic students (7.5% of test takers vs. only 4.2% of the population.

  • […] cite Barbara Ericson, director of computing outreach at Georgia Tech, who recently broke down the 2013 Advanced […]

  • 20. Jonathan  |  January 16, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    “No females took the exam in Mississippi, Montana, and Wyoming.”

    No one at all took the exam in Wyoming. Only 1 person took the exam in Mississippi. Only 11 people took the exam in Montana.

    This is not an “interest finding” this is insignificant data blip.

  • […] gender, race, and state, which has been released in a few different forms.  Mark Guzdial’s blog post provides pointers to the data collected by Barbara Ericson.  Some of the comments provided on that […]

    • 22. Mark Guzdial  |  January 18, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      That’s a great analysis, Kevin! Thanks!

  • […] past year alone, data shows that in Mississippi, Montana and Wyoming, no female students took the AP computer science exam.  […]

  • […] Guzdial has put out some excellent posts recently on Barbara Ericson’s ongoing work on analysing AP CS exam attempts and results across the US. Unsurprisingly, to those of us who see the classrooms on a day-to-day basis, women are grossly […]

  • […] available in computing, the salaries being paid for those jobs, and how many computing graduates (including how many AP CS exams vs other AP exams were taken in 2013) in that […]

  • […] of the minority students who took the test were female. These unfortunate statistics, compiled by Barbara Ericson, are a testament  to the fact that there needs to be encouragement  in schools to engage in […]

  • […] Sabin at University of New Hampshire Manchester took Barb’s AP analysis, and produced a version specific to New Hampshire.  Quite interesting — would be great to […]

  • […] more likely to have taken an engineering class than girls. In fact, in 2013, no girls took the AP Computer Science exam in three […]

  • […] of major or eventual career, study their first programming language in college. Given the unfortunate state of K-12 computer science education in the U.S., these college courses are where many students, especially women and underrepresented […]

  • […] school CS. That’s in Barb’s AP analysis that got so much coverage this last year (see blog post here and the media coverage here).  AP CS is the most gender-skewed AP (more male than AP Studio Art […]

  • […] Barbara Ericson does an analysis of the AP CS exam demographics by state. The 2013 analysis (see here) got a lot of media attention (see on-going list).  Here’s the run-down for 2014.  Her […]

  • […] minorities employees, I say create them. According to 2013 data from the College Board compiled by Georgia Tech’s Barbara Ericson, only 18 percent of high-schoolers taking the Advanced […]

  • 33. Announcing the New AP Java Course on CodeHS –  |  December 25, 2015 at 12:36 am

    […] In 2013, no females took the exam in Mississippi, Montana and Wyoming. No one took the exam in Wyoming. 11 states had no black students take the exam. 8 states had no hispanic students take the exam [2][3]. […]

  • […] In 2013, no females took the exam in Mississippi, Montana and Wyoming. No one took the exam in Wyoming. 11 states had no black students take the exam. 8 states had no hispanic students take the exam [2][3]. […]

  • […] Accenture and Girls Who Code. Additionally, just 18 percent of computer science majors are women. In Mississippi, Montana, and Wyoming, no girls took the AP Computer Science exam in 2013 according to a study by Georgia Tech. However, […]

  • […] whatever it is, it’s the same crap that results in literally no girls in Mississippi, Montana, and Wyoming taking the 2013 AP computer science test. And, yes – I mean literally in the traditional sense. ZERO. None. […]


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