AP CS Report for 2018

Every year I, Barb Ericson, gather and report on the data for AP CS from the College Board which is at http://research.collegeboard.org/programs/ap/data/ 

There was a huge increase in Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles (CSP) exam takers nationally (from 43,780 in 2017 to 70, 864 in 2018 – a 62% increase).  The Computer Science A (CSA) exam also grew (from 56,088 in 2017 to 60,040 in 2018 – a 7% increase).

The detailed data for AP CSP for 2017 and 2018 is at https://www.dropbox.com/s/40hxf52dytasmwi/AP-CSP-2017-2018-with-pop.xlsx?dl=0

The detailed data for AP CSA from 2006 to 2018 is at https://www.dropbox.com/s/1xxykonu8wo5l81/DetailedStateInfoAP-CS-A-2006-2018.xlsx?dl=0 .   

The number of exam takers for all states for AP CSA from 1998 to 2018 is at https://www.dropbox.com/s/sjwaw3dmc47g208/AP-CSA-98-2018-with-pop.xlsx?dl=0

  AP CSA is no longer the most male skewed of any of the AP exams as of 2018.  The most male skewed exam is now Physics C: Elec. & Magnet.  However, AP CSA is the 2nd most male skewed of the AP exams and AP CSP is the 5th most male skewed after Physics 2 and Physics C: Mechanics.  Thanks to Willa Hua from the University of Michigan for creating the following graph.

The percentage of female exam takers increased slightly for CSA from 23.5% in 2017 to 23.9% in 2018. However, the percentage of female exam takers varies from state to state. For AP CSA, the range was from 0% (no female exam takers) in Mississippi and South Dakota to 37% in Alaska (not pictured below). Five states had 27% female exam takers: West Virginia, California, Arkansas, New-York, and Washington. Thanks to Willa Hua from the University of Michigan for creating the following graph.

Percentage of female AP CSA exam takers by state

The percentage of female exam takers increased slightly for CSP from 30% in 2017 to 31% in 2018. However, the percentage of female exam takers varies from state to state. For AP CSP, the range was from 0% (no females took the exam in Montana) to 40% in New York and 47% in the District of Columbia. Thanks to Willa Hua from the University of Michigan for creating the following graph.

The percentage of students who pass the AP CSP exam nationally is higher than the percentage who pass AP CSA, Biology, Calculus AB, and US History.  As you can see from the table below Black students have the lowest pass rate on all of these exams and Hispanics have the second lowest pass rates.

Pass Rates for AP Exams in 2018 by Racial Groups

AP Exam All Asian White Hispanic Black
CSP 71% 82% 78% 54% 40%
CSA 67% 76% 69% 46% 37%
Biology 61% 74% 69% 38% 31%
Calculus AB 57% 68% 62% 39% 32%
US History 52% 66% 60% 33% 27%

The female pass rate for the CSA exam in 2018 was the highest ever at 65%, but this was still a bit lower than the pass rate for males, at 68.2%.  The female pass rate on the CSP exam fell slightly from 70.4% in 2017 to 68.5% in 2018.  The female pass rate at 68.5% in 2018 was slightly lower than the male pass rate, at 72.1%.  The female pass rate is lower than the male pass rate on many AP exams, including Biology, Calculus AB, and US History. The female pass rate is higher than the male pass rate for English Lit. & Comp. and Studio Art – Drawing. Black and Hispanic females had a lower pass rate in 2018 on the AP CSA and AP CSP exam than Black and Hispanic males.

Exam M F Hisp M Hisp F Black M Black F
CSA 68% 65% 48% 37% 39% 32%
CSP 72% 69% 57% 49% 42% 38%
Biology 67% 58% 46% 34% 34% 30%
Calc AB 60% 54% 43% 35% 34% 30%
Eng Lit 47% 48% 28% 28% 19% 21%
Art 82% 91% 75% 84% 71% 82%
US Hist 61% 52% 39% 29% 29% 26%

The Black female pass rate varies quite a bit.  Arkansas had 21 Black female students take the AP CSA exam and only one pass it, which is a pass rate of 4.76%. Connecticut had 4 of 6 Black female students pass the AP CSA exam, which is a pass rate of 66.67%. In 16 states, no Black female student took the AP CSA exam (Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming).  Only 7 states had more than 10 Black female students pass the AP CSA exam (California 13/36, Maryland 15/59, Virginia 16/54, New Jersey 19/48, Georgia 22/56, New York 26/77, and Texas 28/64). 

Only 10 states had more than 10 Hispanic females pass the AP CSA exam (Ohio 12/13, Georgia 13/29, Washington 15/23, Virginia 31/55, Illinois 33/60, New Jersey 34/72, New York 45/153, Florida 71/152, Texas 107/355, and California 146/453). 

All states had students take the AP CSA exam, but the number of exams per 100,000 of population varied from 43 (New Jersey) to 0.2 (South Dakota).  All states had students take the AP CSP exam, but the number of exams per 100,000 of population varied quite a bit from 59 (Maryland) to 1 (Kansas and Montana).

The ten states with the highest number of exams per 100,000 of population:

AP CSAAP CSP
1 New Jersey 43 1 Maryland 59
2 Virginia 39 2 Florida 41
3 Maryland 36 3 Connecticut 36
4 Massachusetts 35 4 California 35
5 Wash D.C. 31 5 Rhode Island 34
6 California 30 6 Alabama 33
7 Connecticut 30 7 New Jersey 31
8 Washington 29 8 New York 30
9 Texas 25 9 Georgia 29
10 Illinois 25 10 Massachusetts 28

In four states, no Black students took the AP CSA exam: Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.  In 12 states, in which at least one Black student took the exam, no Black student passed the exam: Hawaii (4) Utah (4), Iowa (3), Maine (2), Alaska (1), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (1), New Mexico (1), Vermont (1), West Virginia (1), and Wyoming (1). 

The states with the highest number of Black students taking the AP CS exams. 

AP CSAAP CSP
1 Texas 228 1 Florida 866
2 Maryland 217 2 New York 758
3 New York 211 3 Maryland 478
4 Georgia 178 4 Georgia 325
5 Virginia 174 5 California 312
6 California 167 6 Texas 254
7 Florida 140 7 Alabama 216
8 New Jersey 133 8 Massachusetts 179
9 North Carolina 97 9 North Carolina 144
10 Massachusetts 84 10 Virginia 139

In three states, no Hispanic students took the AP CSA exam: Wyoming, Mississippi, and South Dakota.  In seven states, in which at least one Hispanic student took the exam, no Hispanic student passed the AP CSA exam: Kansas (4), West Virginia (3), Maine (3), Alaska (1), North Dakota (1), Vermont (1), and Montana (1). 

The states with the highest number of Hispanic students taking the AP CS exams.

AP CSAAP CSP
1 California 1740 1 California 4247
2 Texas 1487 2 Florida 2651
3 Florida 734 3 Texas 1526
4 New-York 481 4 New-York 1168
5 New-Jersey 354 5 Illinois 637
6 Illinois 277 6 New-Jersey 396
7 Virginia 240 7 Georgia 334
8 Georgia 165 8 Maryland 281
9 Maryland 150 9 Nevada 248
10 Massachusetts 144 10 Colorado 224

3 thoughts on “AP CS Report for 2018

  1. This was so illuminating as always. Thank you so much for this analysis Barb! I find these kinds of graphs especially helpful in presenting the case of why broadening participation is so important. In Indiana, we are currently at only 17% of CSA exam takers and 27% of CSP exam takers are female. With your graphs, I can start building a strong argument to step up our game. I will also use these numbers to check out our percentage against our underrepresented populations overall. And perhaps apply similar diagrams to specific counties (always illuminating to our rural populations).

  2. Is there a way the data for New York City can be separated out? I strongly suspect that the appearance of New York State being a leader is due to NYC being the nation’s single largest school district AND being 3 years into a mandate to provide CS education K-12 in every school by 2025. (If NYC’s schools were analyzed as a separate ‘state’, it would be the 17th largest by enrollment.)

    The oversized influence of NYC on the data for the entire state is likely misrepresenting the remaining 60% of the students who don’t benefit from the mandate.

Leave a Reply