Since recent data shows that students like computer science classes a lot, it’s not a surprise that AP Computer Science experienced record growth in the 2015-2016 academic year and maintained its position as the fastest growing course of the decade.
According to preliminary data from the College Board, more AP Computer Science A tests were taken this past spring than ever before—54,629, an 18% increase compared to 2015.
It’s worth noting that the total numbers are still quite small. By comparison, courses such as AP Calculus or AP English have ten times higher participation. The reason why isn’t lack of student interest; in schools that offer AP Computer Science, enrollment is skyrocketing. But over 90% of US schools still don’t teach this course, leaving interested students without an option to learn this subject.
Even more exciting than the overall growth—participation from female students and underrepresented minorities continues to grow as well. While the gender and racial participation in AP Computer Science is still far from balanced, the growth among the underrepresented groups outpaced overall participation in the exam. The number of female test-takers went up this year by 25%, while underrepresented minorities saw a 38% increase.
A deeper dive into these statistics is provided above. It should be noted that Black/African American test-takers make up a slightly smaller percentage of the overall number this year (3.76%, versus 3.85% in 2014-2015), despite their increased participation.
Hispanic or Latino students saw by far the largest year-over-year increase at 34%; they represent 11.55% of all test-takers in 2016.