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EU Code Week 2015 Report

In Fall 2015, NewTechKids partnered with TomTom, the Dutch technology company, to launch a pilot program aimed at creating a scaling model for technology education in primary schools. Specifically, this model engaged both primary school teachers and students around computational thinking and coding. NewTechKids trained 75 primary school teachers from schools in Amsterdam and Delft to teach their "Intro to Computational Thinking and Coding Concepts" lesson to students in groups one to four (ages four to seven) as part of EU Code Week 2015 activities. EU Code Week 2015 took place October 10-18. NewTechKids compiled data and feedback from participating teachers at three intervals during this pilot program via registration forms and anonymous surveys. These data and feedback are included in this report. 


Composite AP CS Data 1998-2013

This Excel spreadsheet provides all the data for the number of Advanced Placement Computer Science A exams taken in each state from 1998 to 2013. The data was complied from the data available here. This data was originally gathered by the CSTA board, but Barbara Ericson keeps adding to it each year. A snapshot of the results are as follows: Nationally 29,555 students took the AP CS A exam in 2013. This was a big increase (19.25%) from the 24,782 students who took it in 2012. The number of teachers who passed the audit was 2,253 versus 2,103 the previous year. California had the most exams with a big jump from 3,920 exams taken in 2012 to 4,964 in 2013. Compared to the population of the state Maryland was the winner again. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia had less than 100 people take the AP CS A exam in 2013.

To view spreadsheet, click here.


State Data on Gender and Ethnicity for AP CS 2006-2013

This data, complied by Barbara Ericson at Georgia Tech, provides detailed data by race and gender for the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam. The first sheet is from 2006 to 2013 for selected states. The second sheet is the race and gender information for every state for 2013. The third sheet is the race and gender information for every state for 2012.

Some interesting findings from this data:

  • No females took the exam in Mississippi, Montana, and Wyoming.
  • For states that had some females take the exam the percentage female ranged from 3.88% in Utah to 29% in Tennessee.
  • 11 states had no Black students take the exam: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
  • The following states had the most Black students taking the exam: 1) Maryland with 170, 2) Texas with 132, 3) Georgia with 129, 4) Florida with 83, 5) Virginia with 78, 6) California with 74, 7) New York with 68, 8) New Jersey with 34 9) Mass with 34 and 10) North Carolina with 28. The pass rates for Black student in these states: Maryland 27.06%, Texas 48.48%, Georgia 21.7%, Florida 19.28%, Virginia 28.21%, California 56.76%, New York 33.82%, New Jersey 47.06%, Mass 38.24%, and North Carolina 21.43%.
  • 8 states had no Hispanic students take the exam: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
  • The following states had the most Hispanic students taking the exam: 1) Texas with 751, 2) California with 392, 3) Florida with 269 , 4) New York with 150, 5) Illinois with 142, 6) New Jersey with 96, 7) Virginia with 90, 8) Maryland with 88, 9) Georgia with 71, and 10) Mass with 56. In report the Hispanic numbers I cam combining the College Board categories of Mexican American, Other Hispanic, and Puerto Rican. The pass rate for Hispanic students in these states: Texas 44.47%, California 47.45%, Florida 44.61%, New York 35.33%, Illinois 39.44%, New Jersey 52.08%, Virginia 46.67%, Maryland 44.32%, Georgia 40.85%, and Mass 39.29%

To view spreadsheet, click here.


New CS Education Newsletter

The National Science Foundation has launched a one-page biweekly newsletter highlighting innovative computer science research that is available through the end of the 2011/2012 academic year. The NSF CS Bits & Bytes series will emphasize how computer science permeates and improves our lives and supports progress in many other disciplines. CS Bits & Bytes issues will also include profiles of the individuals who do this exciting work. Teachers can use CS Bits & Bytes to inspire students to engage in the multi-faceted world of computer science, to become not just users but creators of technology, and to develop the skills to bend computation to their own ends, no matter their interests.

Click here to receive CS Bits & Bytes ...


Gender Imbalance: Participation by Women on the 2011 AP CS Exam

Each year, the College Board provides state-by-state statistics for each Advanced Placement (AP) exam, broken down by various demographics. The numbers of women taking the AP Computer Science exam in 2011 are illustrative of the continuing gender imbalance in computing. The table linked below organizes the 50 states and District of Columbia according to the percentage of AP CS exam takers who were women. The percentages of women across all AP exams are also listed for comparison, as well as the overall percentage of exams that AP CS constitutes for each state.

While nearly 55% of all AP exam takers are women, the percentage for AP Computer Science is much lower, only 19%, with a median percentage across all states of 15.4%. It is interesting to note that two states, Texas and California, account for more than 31% of all AP CS exams and both have higher than average participation by women (24% and 21%, respectively). If the numbers from these two states are omitted, the remaining percentage of AP CS participation by women for the rest of the country is 17.3%.

The numbers in this table are collected from the College Board state-by-state data files, located here.

To download the Table (PDF), click here.

Comparing the State Rates of APCS Participation & Enrollment by Race

Joanna Goode
April 29, 2011

This analysis compares the racial enrollment rates of high school students to the racial participation rates of students in the Advanced Placement Computer Science Test. For each state, the percentage of enrollment and percentage of APCS participation for each of the racial groups is provided in Table 1. The "Participation Rate" is a ratio to compare the rate of participation in APCS as compared to the enrollment rate. A rate of "1" means that the same ratio of students are represented in APCS as in the general high school enrollment, a number less than than "1" represents an under-enrollment in APCS, and a number greater than "1" denotes an overrepresentation of students in the APCS course.

Table 2 summarizes this information for underrepresented students of color, including American Indians, African Americans, and Latinos.

The states are listed in an increasing order to show the lowest to highest participation rates of students of color in APCS as compared to school enrollment. Thus, this analysis highlights that Ohio has the worst participation rate of students of color (.13), while Arkansas has the highest rate of students of color (.59).

Data Methodology
The enrollment data is from the 2008-09 school year and provided by the National Center for Educational Statistics, the most recent year available. The APCS participation data is provided by the College Board and is based on the spring 2010 examination. Only states with more than 100 APCS exam-takers are included in this analysis.


To download the APCS Table, click here.


Introductory Computer Science in an All Girls' Classroom
This study examined the impact of an all girls' classroom environment in a high school introductory computer science class on the student's attitudes towards computer science and their thoughts on future involvement with computer science. It was determined that an all girls' introductory class could impact the declining female enrollment and female students' efficacy towards computer science. This research was conducted in a summer school program through a regional magnet school for science and technology which these students attend during the school year. Three different groupings of students were examined for the research: female students in an all girls' class, female students in mixed gender classes and male students in mixed gender classes. A survey, Attitudes about Computers and Computer Science (ACCS), was designed to obtain an understanding of the students' thoughts, preconceptions, attitude, knowledge of computer science, and future intentions around computer science, both in education and career. Students in all three groups were administered the ACCS prior to taking the class and upon completion of the class. In addition, students in the all girls' class wrote in a journal throughout the course, and some of those students were also interviewed upon completion of the course. The data was analyzed using quantitative and qualitative techniques. While there were no major differences found in the quantitative data, it was determined that girls in the all girls' class were truly excited by what they had learned and were more open to the idea of computer science being a part of their future.


Computational Thinking and Women in Computer Science
Though the first computer programmers were female, women currently make up only a quarter of the computing industry. This lack of diversity jeopardizes technical innovation, creativity and profitability. As demand for talented computing professionals grows, both academia and industry are seeking ways to reach out to groups of individuals who are underrepresented in computer science, the largest of which is women. Women are most likely to succeed in computer science when they are introduced to computing concepts as children and are exposed over a long period of time. In this paper I show that computational thinking (the art of abstraction and automation) can be introduced earlier than has been demonstrated before. Building on ideas being developed for the state of California, I have created an entertaining and engaging educational software prototype that makes primary concepts accessible down to the third grade level.


Arkansas Teacher Attrition Study
This brief report outlines the results of a study done at the request of the Arkansas State Legislature's Joint Interim Committee on Education. The study provides interesting data on the reasons for higher attrition rates among K-12 computer science teachers.


South Carolina Computing Competitiveness Report
This thought-provoking report explores the current crisis in K-12 computer science education in South Carolina, and provides a comprehensive action plan to ensure that South Carolina's students have the knowledge and skills they need to prepare for 21st century jobs. This report was authored by the Computing Competitiveness Council, a group of interested parties in South Carolina who are concerned about computing education in the schools and universities and the negative impact on economic development that will result from a continued shortage of students interested in and eventual college and university graduates educated in computing. Input for the CCC proposal came from the software industry, university and technical college faculty, high school teachers, and parents of South Carolina. Input was also solicited from department chairs in computing of nine of South Carolina's public universities, including all those with accredited computer science degrees, and direct feedback has come from representatives of eight of those departments.


Making Programming Attractive to Middle School Girls Using Storytelling
This thesis reports on the creation and evaluation of a new programming system for middle school girls called Storytelling Alice that presents programming as a means to the end of storytelling. Storytelling Alice includes high-level animations that enable users to program social interactions, a gallery of characters and scenery designed to spark story ideas, and a story-based tutorial. To evaluate the impact of storytelling support on girls' motivation and learning, I compared girls' experiences using Storytelling Alice and a version of Alice without storytelling support (Generic Alice). Results of the study suggest that girls are more motivated to learn programming using Storytelling Alice; study participants who used Storytelling Alice spent 42% more time programming and were more than three times as likely to sneak extra time to work on their programs as users of Generic Alice (16% of Generic Alice users and 51% of Storytelling Alice users snuck extra time).


Maryland Task Force Report on Women and IT
Maryland's Task Force on the Status of Women and Information Technology has released a major new study focusing on women and information technology. The report, called In the Center of the Storm: Addressing the Challenges of Maryland's Tightening IT Market, provides a succinct review of the problems and practical steps that can be taken at all levels to address them. During the 2004 session of the Maryland General Assembly, the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee and the House Economic Matters Committee heard legislation addressing the declining percentage of women entering and remaining in information technology (IT) professions. Senate Bill 917 (Chapter 489) and House Bill 1538 (Chapter 490) established a 20-member Task Force on the Status of Women and Information Technology to study this decline and its impact on the future of the IT workforce in Maryland, to examine existing laws and services pertaining to the issue of women in IT, to develop a statewide Women and Information Technology Plan and to formulate strategies to implement and promote this plan.


Kansas Study on CS Teacher Preparation
This 2005 Master's project from the University of Kansas examines the results of a survey of high school computer science teachers in Kansas concerning the current state of teacher preparation, teacher responsibilities, teacher support, and professional development in Kansas high school computer science programs. The surveys' inquiries focused on teacher-perceived instructional proficiency, and correlation factors for teachers' awareness and utilization of professional development opportunities for high school computer science educators. Research from the secondary teachers' points of view demonstrates there is a need for support and calls upon those who influence the professional development opportunities for secondary computer science educators.


The Role of Teachers in Broadening Computer Science Learning for Urban Youth

Despite the digital saturation of today's youth across demographic groups, students of color and females remain severely underrepresented in computer science. Reporting on a sequential mixed methods study, this article explores the ways that high school computer science teachers can act as change agents to broaden the participation in computing for historically underrepresented students. Three high school case studies reveal a critical need for professional development and support to do this work. The subsequent part of the study focuses on the impact of a district-university intervention which trained 25 urban teachers to teach Advanced Placement computer science in their schools. The swift success of this intervention was evident from the following years' dramatic increase in course offerings and enrollment of females, Latinos, and African Americans.



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