Posts tagged ‘BPC’
Nick Black, brilliant GT alum and (now former) Google engineer, says it like he sees it. His critique of Google and their efforts to improving diversity extend to most of Silicon Valley. If you really want a diverse workforce, open offices where there’s diversity.
Nick’s analysis (and I encourage you to read the whole post below) talks about the density of middle class Black workers. He doesn’t consider where there are Black workers who know computing. Computing education is still pretty rare in the US. Let’s use AP CS exam-taking as a measure of where there is CS education. In Michigan last year, there were 19 Black AP CS exam-takers. 11 in Missouri. None in Mississippi. There are middle class Black families in these states. They may not be getting access to CS education.
Google talks endlessly about diversity, and spends millions of dollars on the cause. My NYC office lends its prodigiously expensive square feet to Black Girls Code. We attempt to hook the recruiting pipeline up to HBCUs. We tweet about social justice and blog about the very real problem of racial inequality in America. Noble endeavors, all. It’s too bad that they’re not taking place where black people actually, you know, live.
According to census.gov’s data as of 2016, Mountain View is 2% black. In 2010, the Bay Area Census Project recorded 1,468 blacks in MTV. I saw more black people than that crossing Peachtree Street today. census.gov reports, as of 2010, blacks making up 25.1% of NYC, 9.6% of Los Angeles, and 6.1% of famously liberal San Francisco. census.gov does not provide data for Dublin or Zürich, but we can make some reasonable assumptions about those other largest Google offices, n’est-ce pas?
And let’s be honest — I doubt much of that 25.1% of NYC is centered around Chelsea.
Atlanta’s a bit down from 67% in 1990, but 54% ain’t so bad.
At the ECEP Summit, I sat with the team from North Carolina as they were reviewing data that our evaluation team from Sagefox had assembled. It was fascinating to work with them as they reviewed their state data. I realized in a new way the difficult choices that a state has to make when deciding how to make progress towards the CS for All goal. In the discussion that follows, I don’t mean to critique North Carolina in any way — every state has similar strengths and weaknesses, and has to make difficult choices. I just spent time working with the North Carolina team, so I have their numbers at-hand.
North Carolina has 5,000 students taking CS in the state right now. That was higher than some of the other states in the room. I had been sitting with the Georgia state team, and knew that Georgia was unsure if we have even one full-time CS teacher in a public high school in the whole state. The North Carolina team knew for a fact that they had at least 10 full-time high school CS teachers.
Some of the other statistics that Sagefox had gathered:
- In 2015, the only 18% of Blacks in North Carolina who took the AP CS exam passed it. (It rose to 28% in 2016, but we didn’t have those results at the summit.) The overall pass rate for AP CS in North Carolina is over 40%.
- Only 68 teachers in the state took any kind of CS Professional Development (that Sagefox could track). There are 727 high schools in the state.
- Knowing that there are 727 high schools in the state, we can put the 5,000 high school students in CS in perspective. We know that there at 10 full-time CS teachers in North Carolina, each teaching six classes of 20 students each. That accounts for 1,200 of those 5,000. 3,800 students divided by 717 high schools, with class sizes typically at 20 students, suggests that not all high schools in North Carolina have any CS at all.
Given all of this, if you wanted to achieve CS for All, where would you make a strategic investment?
- Maybe you’d want to raise that Black student pass rate. North Carolina is 22% African-American. If you can improve quality for those students, you can make a huge impact on the state and make big steps towards broadening participation in computing.
- Maybe you’d want to work towards all high schools having a CS teacher. Each teacher is only going to reach at most 120 students (that’s full-time), but that would go a long way towards more equitable access to CS education in the state.
- Maybe you’d want to have more full-time CS teachers — not just one class, but more teachers who just teach CS for the maximum six courses a year. Then, you reach more students, and you create an incentive for more pre-service education and a pipeline for CS teachers, since then you’d have jobs for them.
The problem is that you can’t do all of these things. Each of these is expensive. You can really only go after one goal at a time. Which one first? It’s a hard choice, and we don’t have enough evidence to advise which is likely to pay off the most in the long run. And you can’t achieve all of the goal all at once — as I described in Blog@CACM, you take incremental steps. These are all tough choices.
As usual, Barbara Ericson went heads-down, focused on the AP CS A data when the 2016 results were released. But now, I’m only one of many writing about it. Education Week is covering her analysis (see article here), and Hai Hong of Google did a much nicer summary than the one I usually put together. Barb’s work with Project Rise Up 4 CS and Sisters Rise Up have received funding from the Google Rise program, which Hai is part of. I’m including it here with his permission — thanks, Hai!
Every year, I’m super thankful that Barb Ericson at Georgia Tech grabs the AP CS A data from the College Board and puts it all into a couple of spreadsheets to share with the world. 🙂Here’s the 2016 data, downloadable as spreadsheets: Overall and By Race & Gender. For reference, you can find 2015 data here and here.Below is a round-up of the most salient findings, along with some comparison to last year’s. More detailed info is in the links above. Spoiler: Check out the 46% increase in Hispanic AP exam takers!
- Overall: Continued increases in test-taking, but a dip in pass rates.
- 54,379 test-takers in 2016. This reflects a 17.3% increase from 2015 — which, while impressive, is a slower increase than 24.2% in 2015 and 26.3% in 2014.
- Overall pass rate was 64% (same as last year; 61% in 2014)
- Female exam takers: 23% (upward trend from 22% in 2015, 20% in 2014)
- Female pass rate: 61% (same as last year; 57% in 2014)
- In 8 states fewer than 10 females took the exam: Alaska (9/60), Nebraska (8/88), North Dakota (6/35 ), Kansas (4/57), Wyoming (2/6 ), South Dakota (1/26 ), Mississippi (0/16), Montana(0/9). Two states had no females take the exam: Mississippi and Montana.
- Black exam takers: 2,027 (Increase of 13% from 1,784 in 2015; last year’s increase was 21% from 1,469 in 2014)
- Black pass rate: 33% (down from 38% in 2015, but close to 2014 pass rate of 33.4%).
- Twenty-four states had fewer than 10 African American students take the AP CS A exam. Nine states had no African American students take the AP CS A exam: Maine (0/165), Rhode Island (0/94), New Mexico (0/79), Vermont (0/70), Kansas (0/57), North Dakota (0/35), Mississippi (0/16), Montana (0/9), Wyoming (0/6)
- Hispanic exam takers: 6,256 (46% increase from 4,272 in 2015!)
- Hispanic pass rate: 41.5% (up from 40.5% in 2015)
- Fifteen states had fewer than 10 Hispanics take the exam: Delaware, Nebraska, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Kansas, Idaho, West Virginia, Wyoming, Vermont, Mississippi, Alaska, North Dakota, Montana, and South Dakota. Three states had no Hispanics take the exam: North Dakota(0/35), Montana (0/9), South Dakota (0/26).And as a hat-tip to Barb Ericson (whose programs we’ve partnered with and helped grow through the RISE Awards these last 3 years) and the state of Georgia:
- 2,033 exam takers in 2016 (this represents something like a 410% increase in 12 years!)
- New record number of African Americans and females pass the exam in Georgia again this year!
- 47% increase (464 in 2016 vs. 315 in 2015) in girls taking the exam.
- Nationally, the African American pass rate dropped from 37% to 33%. In Georgia it increased from 32% to 34%.
- The pass rate for female students also increased in Georgia from 48% to 51%.
- Only one African American female scored a 5 on the AP CS A exam in Georgia in 2016 and she was in Sisters Rise Up 4 CS (RISE supported project).
Steps Teachers Can Take to Keep Girls and Minorities in Computer Science Education | Cynthia Lee in KQED News
So glad to see Cynthia Lee’s list (described in this blog post) get wider coverage.
Last summer, Cynthia Lee, a lecturer in the computer science department at Stanford University, created a widely-circulated document called, “What can I do today to create a more inclusive community in CS?” The list was developed during a summer workshop funded by the National Science Foundation for newly hired computer science faculty and was designed for busy educators. “I know the research behind these best practices,” said Lee, “but my passion comes from what I’ve experienced in tech spaces, and what students have told me about their experiences in computer science classrooms.”
Too often students from diverse backgrounds “feel that they simply aren’t wanted,” said Lee. “What I hear from students is that when they are working on their assignments, they love [computer science]. But when they look up and look around the classroom, they see that ‘there aren’t many people like me here.’ If anything is said or done to accentuate that, it can raise these doubts in their mind that cause them to questions their positive feelings about the subject matter.”
My ECEP colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Rick Adrion and Renee Fall, led a successful NSF alliance called CAITE. One of CAITE’s most successful strategies to improve diversity at university-level CS was to make it easier for students to transfer from community colleges. Community colleges are much more diverse.
The latest reports from Google tell us more about the obstacles that CS students still face in moving from community colleges to bachelor’s degrees, and how to make it easier.
Our latest research shows that students who attend community colleges on the way to computer science (CS) bachelor’s degrees encounter many challenges and obstacles along the way. But there are many ways for community colleges and four-year colleges to work together and with industry to remove these obstacles and support students seeking to transfer into CS majors. Today, we are releasing two complementary research reports that explore the pathways that community college students follow to a bachelor’s degree in CS. The reports also examine the experiences of these students and the opportunities that exist or that might be created to ensure their successful career advancement. Longitudinal Analysis of Community College Pathways to Computer Science Bachelor’s Degrees investigates the national landscape of CS students at community colleges in order to better understand student behaviors and institutional characteristics that support or hinder community college students’ efforts to attain a CS bachelor’s degree. The companion report, Student Perspectives of Community College Pathways to Computer Science Bachelor’s Degrees, takes a complimentary in-depth and qualitative look at the experiences of students from underrepresented groups at community colleges in California, a state that enrolls one quarter of all community college students in the U.S.
African-Americans gain more in CS MS but not CS Bachelors: Minorities Gain Some Ground in CS&E Degrees
We’re seeing this in the AP CS data, too — more minority students are entering CS, but at different levels.
For African Americans, the picture in computer science is mixed. The share of bachelor’s degrees they receive has fallen off since the high point of 2007, but new data suggest that their share of master’s degrees surged for almost a decade before retreating somewhat after 2013. African Americans are actually overrepresented among Americans who receive master’s degrees.[i] Why? A report in Science Magazine cited this trend in Master’s degrees as early as 2011 and speculated that efforts to attract more African Americans into computer science graduate degrees were bearing fruit. That may well be true, but disappointing trends in bachelor’s degrees will surely thwart further progress in advanced degrees.
Google’s latest reports from their collaboration with Gallup lines up with Miranda Parker’s research interests in privilege in CS education (see preview of her RESPECT 2015 paper here). I invited her to write a guest blog post introducing the new reports. I’m grateful that she agreed.
Google, in collaboration with Gallup, has recently released new research about racial and gender gaps in computer science K-12 classrooms. A lot of the report confirms what we already knew: there are structural and social barriers that limit access to CS for black, Hispanic, and female students. I don’t mind the repeated results though–it helps form an even stronger argument that there is a dearth of diversity in computing classrooms across the country.
The report does highlight interesting tidbits that may not have been as obvious before. For example, black and Hispanic students are 1.5 and 1.7 times more likely than white students to be “very interested” in learning computer science. This knowledge, combined with the data that black and Hispanic students are less likely to have access to learning CS, creates a compelling argument for growing programs focused at these groups.
Research like this continues to push the envelope of what is known about racial and gender gaps in computer science. However, it may be time to dig deeper than visible identities and explore if there are other variables that, independently or together with the other traits, create a stronger argument for why the diversity gap exists. Does socioeconomic status better explain racial gaps? What about spatial ability? These are variables that we at Georgia Tech are looking at, as we hypothesize about what can be done to level the playing field in computing.
Today, we’re releasing new research from our partnership with Gallup that investigates the demographic inequities in K-12 computer science (CS) education in two reports, Diversity Gaps in Computer Science: Exploring the Underrepresentation of Girls, Blacks and Hispanics and Trends in the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 Schools. We surveyed 16,000 nationally representative groups of students, parents, teachers, principals, and superintendents in the U.S. Our findings explore the CS learning gap between white students and their Black and Hispanic peers as well as between boys and girls and confirm just how much demographic differences matter. We’re excited to share this data to bring awareness to issues on the ground in order to help expand CS education in meaningful ways.