College Board stops sharing data on Advanced Placement Computer Science exams

May 17, 2022 at 7:00 am 7 comments

Barb Ericson has been gathering data on the Advanced Placement exams in Computer Science for a decade. The College Board made available data about who took the exam (demographic statistics) and how well they did for each state, for AP CS Level A and then for AP CS Principles when that exam started. When she first started in 2010, she would download each state’s reports, then copy the data from the PDF’s into her Excel spreadsheets. By the time she processed the 2020 data, it was mostly mechanized. Her annual reports on the AP CS exam results were posted here until 2018. She now makes her reports and her archived data collection available at her blog.

However, the 2020 data she has posted are now the last data that are available. The College Board is no longer sharing data on AP CS exams. The archive is gone, and the 2021 data are not posted.

Researchers can request the data. Barb did several months ago. She still hasn’t received it. She was told that they would sign an agreement with the University of Michigan to give her access to the data — but not to her personally. She would also have to promise that she wouldn’t share the data.

Barb talked to someone at the College Board who explained that this is a cost-saving measure — but that doesn’t make much sense. The College Board still produces all the reports and distributes them to the states. They have just stopped making them publicly available.

I agree with Joanna Goode in this tweet from April:

The National Science Foundation paid for the development of the AP CS Principles exam explicitly to broaden participation in computer science. The goal was to create an AP CS exam that any high school could teach, that would be welcoming, and that would encourage more and more diverse students to discover computing. But now, the data showing us whether that’s working are being hidden. Why?

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Updates: Workshop on Contextualized Approaches to Introduction to Computing, from the Center for Inclusive Computing at Northeastern University Three types of computing education research: for CS, for CS but not professionally, and for everyone

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tom Morley  |  May 17, 2022 at 7:51 am

    College board had a big shakeup in 2020. See my email.

  • 2. Colin Potts  |  May 17, 2022 at 7:51 am

    Did Barb’s analysis of their data up to the point when they removed access to it show any evidence that the principles test was producing the intended diversity effects?

    • 3. Mark Guzdial  |  May 17, 2022 at 8:09 am

      It’s certainly more gender diverse than AP CS A, but
      both exams are in the five most male AP exams.

  • 4. Briana Morrison  |  May 17, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    Wow – I get the “we’ll release it to an entity” but the no sharing bit is going to put a huge damper on research reporting. Theoretically none of the CSP curriculum providers will be able to report on the “success” or diversity of the students/teachers using their curriculum. Smells fishy to me…

  • 5. garystager  |  May 17, 2022 at 12:20 pm

    Who could ever have guessed that Tge College Board isn’t our friend?

    Sent from my iPhone


  • […] from previous years from their website.    Mark Guzidal also lamented this loss of data in his blog post on May 17.    Dr. Ericson’s compiled data is the best and perhaps only public source of this […]


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