Where AP CS is taught in Georgia and California, and where there is none at all

October 10, 2014 at 8:29 am 11 comments


April Heard at Georgia Tech built this map for us about where AP CS is taught in the state of Georgia.  Some of it is totally to be expected. Most of the schools are in the Atlanta region, with a couple in Columbus, a handful in Macon, and a few more in Augusta and Savannah area.

But what’s disappointing is that huge swath in the south of the state with nothing.  Not a single school south of Columbus and west of Brunswick.  In terms of area, it’s about 1/3 of the state.  Albany is home to Albany State University, the largest HBCU in Georgia.  No AP CS at all there.  And Georgia is one of the top states for having AP CS.

Sure, there might be some non-AP CS teachers in South Georgia, but we’re talking a handful.  Not double, and certainly not a magnitude more than AP CS.

I suspect that much of the US looks like this, with wide stretches without a CS teacher in sight.  April is continuing to generate these maps for states that we’re working with in ECEP.  Here’s California, with big empty stretches.


Tom McKlin just generated this new map, which overlays the AP CS teacher data on top of mean household income in a school district.  The correlation is very high — districts with money have AP CS, and those that don’t, don’t.

AP CS Median Income


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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jim Huggins  |  October 10, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Are there maps available for other states? The last time I tried to get actual address data from ETS on this (admittedly, this was years ago), it was much harder to figure out …

    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  October 10, 2014 at 10:44 am

      We don’t have Michigan yet, Jim. We’re working on the states that are ECEP partner and associate states right now.

  • 3. Michael S. Kirkpatrick  |  October 10, 2014 at 11:18 am

    This data seems to support one of the arguments from Larry Cuban that you posted recently (https://computinged.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/larry-cuban-on-why-requiring-coding-is-a-bad-idea/):

    “Then and now, schools eager to teach coding, for the most part, catered to mostly white, middle- and upper-middle class students. They were and are boutique offerings.”

    This is morally problematic to me, as it suggests that current deployments of CS in high school will exacerbate the digital divide, thus increasing social inequality. I’m not saying that’s a reason to stop pushing for CS in high school. Rather, bolder initiatives are needed to fix the problem. What about a federal Scholarship for Service program aimed at training CS teachers? Full tuition + stipend for students that major in CS education in college and become teachers in public schools for an equivalent time frame. (Of course, more funding to districts would be needed to subsidize the demand side of the teacher market.)

    • 4. Mark Guzdial  |  October 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      “From your mouth to God’s ears.” Strongly agreed, Michael.

      • 5. gflint  |  October 10, 2014 at 12:36 pm

        Of course then there is the little detail of who is going to teach the CS Ed courses. People with CS degrees are not really the best option. High school CS teachers, the people with experience teaching high school CS, already have a full-time job. Then there is the fun argument of what we prep these future CS teachers to teach. AP CS? I do not think AP CS is appropriate for 99% of the students that would take a HS CS course but that is my opinion and would probably contradict a lot of CS teachers. I do think something has to be done and quickly or or our best and brightest will be going to school in China.

  • 6. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  October 10, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    You need to normalize by population density. The map of where California AP classes are looks a lot like a map of where people live in California. There are undoubtedly effects from wealth, but that is very hard to see on a map of California at the scale needed to see the whole state, as 5-mile differences can reflect enormous differences in average wealth (Atherton vs. East Palo Alto).

    • 7. Mark Guzdial  |  October 11, 2014 at 9:17 am

      I’m sure you’re right. The interesting part for me on the Georgia map is where there is increase in wealth (like Albany) still without CS teachers.

  • 8. Will  |  October 16, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Hi Mark,

    I’d love to see more of this type of data — any idea where the data about which schools offer CS was sourced from?



  • 9. Cecily  |  October 28, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I would be interested in knowing how much of this can be explained by wealth/SES and how much by rural/urban status and how much by proximity to an R1 school(s).

    • 10. Mark Guzdial  |  October 29, 2014 at 9:43 am

      I’m curious about that, too. Check out the last Georgia map. In the southwest corner of Georgia, Albany is home to Albany State University, the largest HBCU in the state of Georgia, where CS is the second largest major. No high school AP CS. On the east side, near Savannah, is Statesboro, home to Georgia Southern University. Georgia Southern is one of the larger universities in the state, with CS, IT, and SE programs. No AP CS.

  • […] It’s still the case that it’s mostly wealthier (middle or upper class), white or Asian males who get access to high 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 is female).  So, even if you’re in a school that can afford AP, women will most likely not be in the CS class. In our AP analysis SIGCSE paper last year, we showed how wealth in a state has a strong relationship with AP CS offerings in the state.  We’re now starting to show the relationship continues to the district level as appeared in this blog a few weeks ago. […]


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