I am chagrined to see that the uptake of technology programs by women is sporadic, yet I still hope to affect widespread change — which starts with awareness. This article from Education Week (Heitin, Jan 10, 2014) highlights how few US girls signed up for and completed the computer science AP test – complete with a very interesting graphic.
The author does not discuss reasons why few girls sat the test and I find myself curious. Were girls encouraged to write the exam? Were exams only made available in particular classes? Do barriers exist to entry into the preparatory course, real or perceived? Is access to computers – to exploring or playing on and becoming truly comfortable with computers – limited at home or at school?
I found this article reference in the Feb. 11, 2014 WITTS newsletter:
A new analysis of test-taking data found that in Mississippi and Montana no female students took the Advanced Placement exam in computer science. Overall, of the 30,000 students who took the exam last year less than 20 percent of those students were female. In the course to prepare high school students for the Advanced Placement computer science exam, students design and create computer programs, hands-on experience that could spark an interest in the field.
Deborah Davis, spokeswoman for the College Board which oversees the AP, wrote to Education week that, “We were not surprised by [the] findings because unfortunately, computing courses have historically been dominated by white, male students.”