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AP Report Shows Slight Improvements

The College Board has released its Report to the Nation for 2007 and the good news is that the number of students writing the A and AB Computer Science Advanced Placement exams seems to be on the rise after four years of continual decline.

Between 2002 and 2005 the overall number of students taking AP CS dropped from 23,459 to 19,021. In 2006, however, there is a slight upward trend of about 3% to 19,601.

The distribution of examinees by grade level is fairly similar to last year, with a slight increase (from 0.8% to 1.4%) in students who are taking the exam as early as 9th grade).

Exam Takers by Grade Level
9th grade: 1.4%
10th grade: 14.5%
11th grade: 36.6%
12th grade: 42.4%
Other: 5.2%

The Grade Distribution also remains fairly consistent.

AP Grade Distribution
Score of 5: 24.9%
Score of 4: 21.6%
Score of 3: 15.1%
Score of 2: 8.1%
Score of 1: 30.3%

There is also a slight improvement in gender equity, with the percentage of young women writing the AP CS exam rising from 15% to 16%.

AP Exam Takers by Gender
Male: 84%
Female: 16%

The number of exam takers who are students from traditionally underrepresented populations has also improved marginally. Both the number of Hispanic or Latino students and the number of Black or African American students have increased by 0.4%.

AP Exam Takers by Race & Ethnicity:
White: 52.8%
Asian American or Pacific Islander 22.4%
Hispanic or Latino: 6.6%
Not stated: 5.0%
Other: 4.0%
Black or African American: 3.8%
American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.4%

These small improvements are a positive sign in light of growing concerns about the AP Computer Science exam, but it is doubtful that they are sufficient to overcome the growing sense among both K-12 and university educators that the exam is in need of a significant review and revision.


Great summary of the results and it's probably a good thing that the numbers are up a little. The question though is will the College Board go outside the same closed group that created the current exam to review and revise for the future?

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