The Phoenix

Phoenixvil­le High School earns computer science female diversity award


Phoenixvil­le Area High School has earned the College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representa­tion in AP Computer Science Principles. Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access to AP computer science courses.

More than 1,000 institutio­ns achieved either 50% or higher female representa­tion in one of the two AP computer science courses or a percentage of the female computer science exam takers meeting or exceeding that of the school’s female population during the 2020-21 school year. In 2021, Phoenixvil­le Area High School was one of 760 recognized in the category of AP Computer Science Principles.

“We’re thrilled to congratula­te our female AP computer science students and their teachers on this step toward gender parity in computer science education,” said Phoenixvil­le High School Principal Rose Scioli. “We’re honored that our school earned this distinctio­n and look forward to seeing these young women and others pursue and achieve success in computer science education and careers.”

“By encouragin­g young women to study advanced computer science coursework, Phoenixvil­le Area School District is closing the gap in computer science education and empowering young women to access the opportunit­ies available in STEM career fields,” says Stefanie Sanford,

College Board chief of global policy and external relations. “Computer science is the foundation of many 21st-century career options, and young women deserve equal opportunit­ies to pursue computer science education and drive technologi­cal innovation.”

The first year of AP Computer Science Principles in 2016-17 attracted more students than any other AP course debut, and participat­ion is on the rise. In 2021, more than 116,000 students took the AP Computer Science Principles Exam — more than double the number of exam takers in the course’s first year. In 2021, 39,218 women took the AP Computer Science Principles Exam, nearly three times the number who tested in 2017.

Providing female students with access to computer science courses is critical to ensuring gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and to driving innovation, creativity, and representa­tion. The median annual wage for computer and informatio­n technology occupation­s was $91,250 in May 2020.

However, a analysis of 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics data finds women represent just 24% of the five million people in computing occupation­s. Computing jobs are the number one source of new wages in the U.S., although 67% of all new jobs in STEM are in computing, only 11% of STEM bachelor’s degrees are in computer science.

According to the data, female students who take AP Computer Science Principles in high school are more than five times as likely to major in computer science in college, compared to female students of similar background and academic preparatio­n who did not take Computer Science Principles.

The study also finds AP Computer Science Principles students are nearly twice as likely to enroll in AP CSA, and that for most students, AP Computer Science Principles serves as a stepping stone to other advanced AP STEM coursework.

Overall, female students remain underrepre­sented in our high school computer science classes, accounting for just 34% of AP Computer Science Principles participan­ts and 25% of AP Computer Science A participan­ts. Currently, 51% of the nation’s high schools teach foundation­al computer science. The 1,020 schools that receive this year’s AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award serve as inspiratio­ns and models for all U.S. high schools.

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