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The Whole Story Behind Low AP CS Exam Stats

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the low-expectations dept.

Education 325

theodp writes "At first glance, the headline in The Salt Lake Tribune — Very Few Utah Girls, Minorities Take Computer Science AP Tests — appears to be pretty alarming. As does the headline No Girls, Blacks, or Hispanics Take AP Computer Science Exam in Some States over at Education Week. Not One Girl Took The AP Computer Science Test In Some States warns a Business Insider headline. And so on and so on and so on. So how could one quibble with tech-giant backed Code.org's decision to pay teachers a $250 "Female Student Bonus", or Google's declaration that 'the ultimate goal of CS First is to provide proven teaching materials, screencasts, and curricula for after-school programs that will ignite the interest and confidence of underrepresented minorities and girls in CS,' right? But the thing is, CollegeBoard AP CS exam records indicate that no Wyoming students at all took an AP CS exam (xls) in 2013, and only a total of 103 Utah students (xls) had reported scores. Let's not forget about the girls and underrepresented minorities, but since AP CS Exam Stats are being spun as a measure of CS education participation (pdf) and equity, let's not forget that pretty much everyone has been underrepresented if we look at the big AP CS picture. If only 29,555 AP CS scores were reported (xls) in 2013 for a HS population of about 16 million students, shouldn't the goal at this stage of the game really be CS education for all?"

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So, whom to H8? (3, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#46013093)

Newspaper editors for writing catchy headlines,
researchers for writing research that both asks hard questions and lands funding, or
voters for permitting the government to underwrite such research in the first place?

I say blame the voters, who (a) are getting away with way too much these days, and (b) are unlikely to hit back.

Re: So, whom to H8? (5, Insightful)

tysonedwards (969693) | about a year ago | (#46013163)

How about this for a catchy headline: "0.2% of US Students Take AP Computer Science Test."

Re: So, whom to H8? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#46013215)

Students who want a pile of boodle get on GitHub and hack out the whole AP exam tomfoolery.
There's your story.

Re:So, whom to H8? (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about a year ago | (#46013285)

I blame the nerds for driving everyone else out of certain fields with their naked and open hostility towards: women, minorities, political groups, windows users, console players, facebook users, sports fans, people who haven't read Ender's Game and those who display emotions outside of forums posts and D&D games.

This isn't a troll. I am seriously blaming nerds for being openly hostile to the wider adoption of Computer Science and programming. It's a problem and the sooner it is owned up to the sooner a solution can be found.

Re:So, whom to H8? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013429)

Heh.

REAL REASON ==> HS girls don't want to take a class filled with Slashdot types.

REAL REASON #2 ==> AP Computer Science classes are mostly offered in the wealthy suburbs where few minorities live.

Re:So, whom to H8? (4, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#46013505)

Well, even though I'm highly suspicious of the original claim, girls are not minorities (unless you're Chinese).

Re:So, whom to H8? (5, Informative)

laie_techie (883464) | about a year ago | (#46014035)

Heh.

REAL REASON ==> HS girls don't want to take a class filled with Slashdot types.

REAL REASON #2 ==> AP Computer Science classes are mostly offered in the wealthy suburbs where few minorities live.

REAL REASON #3 Very few high schools in the US offer AP classes in CS. My high school only had AP classes in English, History, and Mathematics. In fact, no school in my entire state offered AP classes in CS when I was a student.

Re:So, whom to H8? (5, Funny)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about a year ago | (#46013459)

Nerds are only openly hostile toward the world at large because it was openly hostile to us first.

Re:So, whom to H8? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013707)

And thus, nerds are considered a bunch of babies, because they use a child's tactics and reasoning. But Bobby did it first!

Re:So, whom to H8? (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#46013719)

Unless you are just over sensitive.
However thinking back on my life, there were a lot of things that I have done, that created hostility towards myself first.

A friendly insult from a wise cracker, taken to be a large insult, leading to you escalate it to hating the person, and retribution.
Going to an area of people who were neutral to you, and jumping and making assumptions about them.
Dissing things that they find interesting and important...

Lets face it, we have done plenty to make the world hostile towards us, and we could have started it.

Re:So, whom to H8? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013881)

That's not an excuse.

Getting picked on growing up taught me how important it is to be nice to people, and that you should always try not to judge a person based on appearances or first impressions.

Re:So, whom to H8? (5, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#46013469)

Wow. This would mean that these so-called "nerds" have tremendous influence on high school students. Given how even among computer users, they constitute a small minority, I find this claim dubious.

Re:So, whom to H8? (1)

beatle42 (643102) | about a year ago | (#46013511)

They can be influential in certain spheres even while not in others.

Re:So, whom to H8? (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#46014019)

That's perfectly possible, but I witnessed a similar situation in a major national EE college here in Central Europe in the 1990s (similar, as in 1% female enrollment), and there were almost definitely no "nerds" to blame for that, as this was almost pre-Internet (at least locally), we hadn't had that stereotype here before that (and even now, I don't think it's all that widespread and/or powerful in our culture), and combined with the population numbers and enrollment densities, there was very little chance for any prospective freshman to meet many, or even a few such individuals or to be exposed to the "CS people are geeks" stereotype. If anything, CS tended to be lumped into the "math package" at high school level both in curricular and extracurricular activities - for example, the Olympiads had significant overlap in participants, and there were still more girls on the math track. (Granted, the participation of girls in the Math Olympiad was also pretty low, but that was at odds with what the college population eventually turned out to be, so I'm not sure about the significance of this fact.) Yet still the figures for EE enrollment even in 1990s were what they were, compared to the nuclear sciences and physical engineering faculty, or the mechanical engineering faculty. I'm not sure if anyone found an explanation for that but blaming "nerds" sounds like a red herring to me. (I admit I'm not sure what the math and physics faculty figures were. There always seemed to be more girls there in general, but then again, that faculty teaches math, physics, *and* CS majors, so it could still be difficult to get a breakdown for that period.)

Re:So, whom to H8? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#46013631)

Well if you Like something, then you are obviously, tainted and oblivious to it problems.
You can't be smart unless you thoroughly find faults in everything.

 

Re:So, whom to H8? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013715)

I am seriously blaming nerds for being openly hostile to the wider adoption of Computer Science and programming.

Stop being a fool and pretend that women, minorities, political groups, windows users, console players, facebook users, sports fans, people who haven't read Ender's Game and those who display emotions outside of forums posts etc. are people good to have on a CS curriculum.
If you'd be right, the wages in programming/softeng would be the same as for flipping burgers.

Re:So, whom to H8? (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#46014033)

I blame the nerds for driving everyone else out of certain fields with their naked and open hostility towards: women, minorities, political groups, windows users, console players, facebook users, sports fans, people who haven't read Ender's Game and those who display emotions outside of forums posts and D&D games.

You forgot the worst group of offensive subhumans: people who like to use PascalCasing for field and method names.

Alarming? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013105)

Why is it alarming? People are different, genders are different. What's alarming is that every single job has to be 50-50% by law it seems. Oh except low-paying grunt jobs then it's OK that only men apply there.

Re:Alarming? (4, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year ago | (#46013217)

Unfortunately, we have become so mired in politically correct bullshit that it's now almost a crime to actually tell the truth about anything. A lack of women or minorities in a particular field is not a "problem" which needs to be fixed.

Fact: People who want to study CS will enroll in CS classes. People, regardless of race or gender, who have no interest in CS, will not enroll in CS classes or take CS tests.

Re:Alarming? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013377)

Unfortunately, we have become so mired in politically correct bullshit that it's now almost a crime to actually tell the truth about anything. A lack of women or minorities in a particular field is not a "problem" which needs to be fixed.

Fact: People who want to study CS will enroll in CS classes. People, regardless of race or gender, who have no interest in CS, will not enroll in CS classes or take CS tests.

Couldn't agree more. It's pretty damn sad when the politically correct bullshit has gone so far as to defend those who don't even need or want to be defended.

And it's ironic that in fields where women have typically represented the overwhelming majority, we don't suddenly see this equally as a "problem".

Re:Alarming? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013533)

And it's ironic that in fields where women have typically represented the overwhelming majority, we don't suddenly see this equally as a "problem".

I see the shortage of males in K-12 teaching roles as a problem.
As for the rest, let people learn what they want and try to carve a life out of it. Maybe your dual study of presentation arts and lungfish anatomy [wikipedia.org] will lead to a life of semi-skilled labor at a factory, or maybe you will find your audience and become a new art sensation. Go, pursue your desires, and keep some backup options until they succeed.

Re:Alarming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013745)

Women and minorities who do enroll are often questioned because it's the perception that they don't belong. You are not helping.

Please note, it's culture that determines.

Considering all the failures in tech (Win 8, iOS7, Apple Maps, Blackberry, government IT projects), we could use a fresh pair of eyes with a different background than white male nerd.

Re:Alarming? (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about a year ago | (#46013237)

Hey now, watch it. You'll wind up the ladies and you'll be sent to your "room".

IT Needs More Women!

[John]

Re:Alarming? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013295)

The question is... how much of this is caused by our culture? Kneejerking and immediately answering "None of it!" does nothing to get to the truth.

Re:Alarming? (2)

DruidWheresMyCar (3493635) | about a year ago | (#46013587)

It's also OK that most nurses and primary school teachers are women.

Re:Alarming? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013793)

No it's not. Nursing is concerned: http://www.minoritynurse.com/article/men-nursing

Do all schools even offer CS classes? (4, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#46013107)

How recent is the CS AP exam? I couldn't take CS classes at my high school - I graduated in '98 and high school level comp sci wasn't even a thing yet except at specialty schools. So, the exam itself is probably less than 15 years old - I suspect it's much newer than that.

AP exams also cost money to take, and they're only worth it if the college you're planning to attend accepts it in exchange for credit. How many colleges accept a passing AP exam score to opt out of Comp Sci 101?

AP CS has been around for a while (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013189)

I took AP Computer Science AB exam in either 1995 or 1996. It was given in PASCAL. Though I did very well on it, by the time I was Freshman in college (in 1998), all it qualified me to do was take a 1-credit "C for PASCAL programmers" course. According to Wikipedia, some version of the AP CS exam has been given since 1984.

Re:AP CS has been around for a while (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#46013259)

Oh, interesting. Then perhaps their problem is that it's not very well advertised.

Re:AP CS has been around for a while (1)

IsThisNickTaken (555227) | about a year ago | (#46013617)

I was going to say that I took it in '83 or '84 (I couldn't remember if it was junior or senior year). If Wikipedia is accurate then I must have taken in '84 then. :)

Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (2)

JP205 (263673) | about a year ago | (#46013327)

I took the exam around '99 and I'm sure it was around before that. Yes, not every high school offers classes in computer science. I think we only had it because our teacher was a big proponent of it and our school district was very well funded to say the least. There where only five or six students who actually took the AP course with me, two where female, and two where minorities.

Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013345)

Yes, being the only girl in a classroom for of boys is not even slightly intimidating..... particularly if they are CS students with their well known savoir fare gallantry and interpersonal schools.

Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013407)

Yes, the computer science sausage-fest is self-reinforcing. So how do you fix it?

Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#46013425)

I don't know what's more discriminating here; the explicit statement that CS students aren't gallant or the implied statement that girls pick their education based on the type of boys sharing the classroom.

Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (1)

beatle42 (643102) | about a year ago | (#46013577)

The line about the "type of boys" is somewhat disingenuous I think. It's not unreasonable for someone to recognize that a group is likely to make life harder for your or generally less enjoyable and want to avoid that group. If that group is overrepresented in a particular field, it's not unreasonable to avoid that field. Even the first comment, it's not that there are no decent guys in CS, but if they are underrepresented then their presence may be of little comfort when deciding whether being in that class will make you happier or not. This is especially so when weighing other options where you may find that people who will be nice to you are more highly represented. It's not only women who do this, I suspect we all do to varying degrees, and probably not always consciously.

I took it in 1986 (4, Interesting)

crow (16139) | about a year ago | (#46013397)

I took the AP Computer Science exam in 1986. The class was very popular in my high school, but there wasn't room for a lot of students, so the class was offered during zero-hour, before most classes started. That meant to be in the class, you had to show up an hour early for school.

And interestingly, this was at Boise High School, and Idaho is one of the states cited in the original article. Apparently there were still only 50 students taking the exam last year. We had a third of that number back in 1986 from just my school, though I suspect we were the only school in the state to offer the class.

Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (1)

east coast (590680) | about a year ago | (#46013435)

I couldn't take CS classes at my high school - I graduated in '98 and high school level comp sci wasn't even a thing yet except at specialty schools.

I went to high school in suburban Pittsburgh. I graduated in 1991. I took my first "CS" class in 7th or 8th grade. We're talking mid-80s. It was a BASIC programming course on a TRS-80 [wikipedia.org] Model 2.

Granted, I think it's a bit heavy handed to call it computer science but we did learn some BASIC. I already had a VIC-20 at home so it wasn't anything new to me aside from having a teacher to ask questions to instead of just learning from the manual that came with my VIC.

When I was in 10th grade we had another BASIC class that was pretty much the same material but didn't go over as much of the fundamentals as the first one. In 11th grade I had a Pascal course. There were no further programming courses available at the time and I've never heard of AP CS high school courses until I read about it here or on Facebook in the past few weeks. I had a couple nephews who went to the same school I went to. One had graduated and one is a senior this year and by their accounts it seems that programming is no longer offered from what they've told me and one of them would have been likely to take such a course if offered.

To touch back on the question of girls and minorities, I only recall there ever being one girl in my high school level courses and she dropped it early on. There was one minority student and he kept on it through both courses and went on to be a CS major and is still working in the field, AFAIK.

Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (1)

Diss Champ (934796) | about a year ago | (#46013441)

I was an undergrad in the 90s. I got almost a year worth of college credit from AP exams, including 10 hours of engineering calculus, and the full freshman year of CS classes (I just did CS as a minor, so that got me almost half way there). Things may have changed since then. At the time, it was true that being able to pass the exam required somewhat different skills than passing the classes, but neither was a great measure of ones ability to write quality code, much less step back and put together a quality project.

Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (1)

goodmanj (234846) | about a year ago | (#46013619)

Good for you. How many of your classmates drove BMWs to school? Sorry I'm not trying to be catty, but that much attention to AP only happens at well-funded schools with prosperous, college-focused students. Not so much rich, just "adequate", which is rare in rural America.

Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013897)

There is also a time factor. My HS (graduated in 1984) had one class I could take - Chem for Science Majors - that qualified for a 5.0 for an A instead of a 4.0. There were no AP classes AT ALL and no AP tests. This was a decent HS in the area at the time. Contrast that with my daughter - who at a below average school in a similar area - was able to take 6 AP classes and pass 5 of the AP tests and is now a Junior in college after only 1.5 semesters.

Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (1)

Diss Champ (934796) | about a year ago | (#46013949)

I didn't take the HS classes for all the AP exams I took, but since I went to high school inside the beltway, I certainly agree that I was not an example of a rural student. Living in a densely populated area certainly helped to be close to where they gave the exams.

As to BWM count, I have no idea- it's not something I cared about. I got my 70s toyota for $50 and fixed it up (little things like being to see the road through the floor were disconcerting and I fixed- overall appearance not so much). It was reliable and that's what mattered.

Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013551)

I took it and graduated from HS in 2001. The translation here for most community and 4-year colleges was the grade equaled that amount of credits within the higher ed structure. I scored a "4" on the A test which netted me 4 credits in a CS 101 equivalent class. If you're unaware, an approximation is that generally classes with 5 hours of classroom instruction per week are 5 credits. So my full-year HS class saved me about 8 weeks of college/uni instruction and/or it saved me some cash in terms of transfer credits.

At the time my CS exam was based in C, but I know the year afterward (2002) the test moved to Java, where I believe it has sat since then.

Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#46013669)

I graduated in 2005 from a Math, Science, and Technology magnet program and I don't remember AP CS being offered at all.

Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (1)

jrumney (197329) | about a year ago | (#46013751)

Are you serious? In the country that gave us companies like IBM, and Microsoft, and the internet you didn't have Computer Science as an elective in most high schools as recently as 15 years ago? Computer studies (as it was then known) was offered when I started high school in 1984, and had been for a couple of years already in every high school in my small town in New Zealand. It was however treated more like technical drawing than the main science subjects, in that the students who were pushed towards it were expected to go straight into the workforce or to trade school. The students who were expected to go to University were pushed towards the traditional science subjects of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Calculus and Statistics instead.

Communism like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013119)

decision to pay teachers a $250 "Female Student Bonus", or Google's declaration that 'the ultimate goal of CS First is to provide proven teaching materials, screencasts, and curricula for after-school programs that will ignite the interest and confidence of underrepresented minorities and girls in CS

This sounds like communism. I know what I am talking about because I experienced it.

Re:Communism like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013177)

decision to pay teachers a $250 "Female Student Bonus", or Google's declaration that 'the ultimate goal of CS First is to provide proven teaching materials, screencasts, and curricula for after-school programs that will ignite the interest and confidence of underrepresented minorities and girls in CS

This sounds like communism. I know what I am talking about because I experienced it.

Are you saying that a communist gave you $250 because you were a female?
Did they ask you to do anything? Pics would be appreciated.

the real reason (3, Interesting)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#46013141)

Almost no colleges offer credit for taking AP tests regardless of score so high schoolers have absolutely no reason whatsoever to take those tests. You can either study for just your real final exams that actually go into your grades or you can add in an even harder test that benefits you in no way. Hmm, tough one. Oh and they typically charge money to take the tests as well.

Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013243)

Most colleges I'm aware of offer credit for 5s on AP exams in most subjects. Stanford gives credit for AP CS, but MIT does not. It looks like most of the state schools in my state offer credit for this exam. Maybe this is a regional thing?

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013665)

offer credit for 5s on AP exams in most subjects

Offer credit for what though? I took AP English and Calculus and my state university gave me credit for ENG101 and some remedial "math for people who failed highschool" class and I got to sit through two semesters of integrating and deriving all over again.

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013807)

The whole offering credit doesn't seem to be all that useful from my experience. Oh boy, you don't have to take Calculus I-III since you got a 5 on the calc bc. You still need 4 math courses. They just start out at a higher level. Oh, by the way, you only need Calc I-III and difeq for this degree. Retake Calc I-III for an easy 3 classes.

Re:the real reason (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#46013245)

>Almost no colleges offer credit for taking AP tests regardless of score so high schoolers have absolutely no reason whatsoever to take those tests.

Perhaps they want to learn stuff. College credit isn't the only reason for doing things.

Re:the real reason (1)

YumoolaJohn (3478173) | about a year ago | (#46013311)

Perhaps they want to learn stuff.

Why would they need to take crappy tests in order to learn stuff? Sounds like they aren't too interested in the subject if they aren't just going to learn about it on their own.

Re:the real reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013373)

Because the test is a culmination of a semester-long course specific to that subject matter. That course is more advanced that the normal CS courses that would be available to the student.

Re:the real reason (1)

YumoolaJohn (3478173) | about a year ago | (#46013395)

That doesn't even remotely answer the question. If they're even slightly motivated and intelligent, they wouldn't need some poorly-designed test in order to "learn stuff."

Re:the real reason (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#46013513)

Yes it does answer the question. The course and the test come as one. You don't get to 'just sign up for the course'. You could skip the exam but you'd be taking an F and Fs look bad.
 

Re:the real reason (0)

YumoolaJohn (3478173) | about a year ago | (#46013541)

I still don't see it. Why would you need a crappy course to learn? This all seems like a waste of time to me.

Re:the real reason (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | about a year ago | (#46013801)

You need a non-crappy course. That's literally the point of taking courses.

Re:the real reason (0)

YumoolaJohn (3478173) | about a year ago | (#46013891)

A non-crappy "course" would be self-education, not some one-size-fits-all formal education course.

Re:the real reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013959)

Ummmm, because some people learn better that way? Maybe you don't and that's fine, but a lot of people do. And colleges like to see that kids have challenged themselves by taking what is supposed to be a more difficult class. Maybe that's not fair, but that's the way it is.

Re:the real reason (0)

YumoolaJohn (3478173) | about a year ago | (#46014031)

Wow! What do we have here? An insolent little insect, that's what! Do you have any idea who you're dealing with here? I am the puppeteer behind puppeteers! I am a search nut extremacy wilson! I am a rabid, frothing Binger! I returned to Gamemakerdom long ago! A worthless existence such as yourself can't even begin to comprehend my power!

Such a fuckin' thing! Your public image has been utterly destroyed! The amount of public image you have left is equal to zero. All the elites on the grapevine are now ridiculing the concept of someone like you existing. Just vanish, I say! Vanish 100%, and don't leave a single spec of your worthless dust behind!

Now, as for you other Slashdotters, expect more of The Truth from me...

Re:the real reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013947)

Not true at all. You do not need to take the test just because you took an AP class. I guess some teachers might require it, but it's certainly not an overall AP requirement.

I've taught an AP CS class in the past (volunteered at a local high school), and my daughter isn't currently taking several AP classes. She'll only take the tests she wants to take. Her college of choice doesn't give credit for all of the tests, but taking AP classes always looks good on college apps.

Re:the real reason (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about a year ago | (#46013965)

Wrong, at least from my experience in public school. Since you have to pay to take the AP test, it was optional for us and did not count toward your grade. We still had to take a final. Through taking 5 AP courses in high school I didn't take a single AP test.

Re:the real reason (1)

punman (412350) | about a year ago | (#46013777)

In the US educational system you don't get credit for learning on your own. You sit in a classroom, do the homework, take the test(s) and in the end you pass or fail based on how well you do some or all of those things in the opinion of the teacher. You can learn as much as you want on your own time but if it's not part of any class you're taking, you've proven nothing. And unfortunately, proving to the teacher that you know the material being taught is what gets you passing grades, and passing grades get you into good colleges, where you do the same thing except in bigger classes and with more advanced material.

The AP classes/tests are completely optional and not every AP test is accepted by every college for every subject. (How's that for vague?) When I was in HS -- graduated in 1993 -- I took and passed several AP tests (obligatory on topic statement: there was no CS class nor CS test offered at my HS) and this is how the breakdown of college credit worked out:

Passed AP English -- tested out of one semester of mandatory Literature course
Passed AP History -- tested out of two semesters of mandatory European and World History courses
Passed AP Calculus -- tested out of one semester of Calculus for CS majors

Other people I graduated with, who got the exact same scores on the AP tests, reported completely different results, including several who received no credit at all from their colleges. You don't really know that in your Junior and Senior year, especially if you still haven't made a college decision, or even applied, whether the college you pick is going to take credit, and even asking the admissions department may not get you anywhere.

So, why do they take these "crappy" tests in order to learn stuff? Because they have to take the class anyway, as part of the HS curriculum, and if you qualify for an AP class, you probably want to take it, as it is more advanced, over the standard offering, which will have students who do not qualify for the advanced classes (read into that statement what you will.)

Re:the real reason (1)

LihTox (754597) | about a year ago | (#46013591)

You don't have to take the AP test to take the corresponding AP class. (And usually the AP classes are free, while the AP tests are definitely not.)

Re:the real reason (4, Informative)

bluegutang (2814641) | about a year ago | (#46013251)

Almost no colleges offer credit for taking AP tests regardless of score so high schoolers have absolutely no reason whatsoever to take those tests.

That's completely false. Here are AP credit policies for a couple top universities. The first two I checked, as a matter of fact. Both give credit for most AP exams, both in terms of class placement, and in credits for graduation.

http://apo.fas.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k73580&pageid=icb.page388448&pageContentId=icb.pagecontent1194786&view=view.do&viewParam_name=asgeninfo.html [harvard.edu]
http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/counselors/exam-credit/ap-credits/index.html [university...fornia.edu]

Many colleges do accept AP exam results (5, Informative)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#46013323)

Almost no colleges offer credit for taking AP tests regardless of score so high schoolers have absolutely no reason whatsoever to take those tests.

That's not remotely true. Each college has their own policies on if/how they accept AP classes for college credit but many do give credit for AP courses. I coach about 20 high school students in a sport and about 2/3rds of them take at least some AP courses. (smart group of kids, average GPA is around 3.6) Quite a few colleges accept them if your score is high enough. Furthermore AP classes can be beneficial in getting certain scholarships even if they aren't accepted for credit.

Oh and they typically charge money to take the tests as well.

Many states and municipalities subsidize the cost of taking these exams. Even unsubsidized, the cost of the exams in 2013 was $89 which is hardly prohibitive for a lot of students. Nearly half a million students took the AP English exam in 2013.

Re:Many colleges do accept AP exam results (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013755)

Nearly half a million students took the AP English exam in 2013.

As an engineer: I took the AP English exam (not AP Calc, AP Physics, or AP CS) and it was worth every single penny, because it meant I didn't have to sit through freshman Comp with 300 other students.

(I had both physics and calculus in high school, but I wasn't entirely convinced that the courses I had provided me with a solid foundation for the later physics/calculus classes in college, which is why I took AP English instead of AP Calc or AP Physics. I was right about that as well.)

Re:the real reason (1)

Triklyn (2455072) | about a year ago | (#46013411)

i took the ap class with 5 other boys. that's 6 boys across 2 grade levels or approximately 400 students. we had 2 white people and the rest minorities. This was in New Jersey by the way, in 2003ish. My university gave me credit. It's patently ridiculous when people are saying that girls aren't taking the AP test... when nobody is taking the test. yay, misleading stats.

Re:the real reason (1)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about a year ago | (#46013479)

A lot of colleges count AP classes (and I suppose your scores on exams) as one of many entrance criteria. My daughter chose to take drama classes instead of loading up on APs and she did not get into her first choice U. So, screw them.

AP credits are (sometimes) counted toward graduation requirements, typically as ungraded credit hours, so you don't have to take as intense a schedule as you otherwise might.

Re:the real reason (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#46013713)

Almost no colleges offer credit for taking AP tests regardless of score so high schoolers have absolutely no reason whatsoever to take those tests.

Huh? I went into my freshman year of college already having 21 credits from AP exams. And while the tests did cost money they were really cheap, and some tests were bundled together, such as micro and macro econ.

this is a story??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013155)

I can't believe that this even made it to the front page. /. has totally jumped the shark. I mean, really, who gives a fuck?

What percentage of high schools offered the course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013157)

And how many of those were taught by instructors that were considered capable by potential students.

Math, physics, biology, and chemistry are the traditional STEM subjects covered in high school. The field of computer programming changes rapidly, even though principles taught by college CS courses (which assume a level of intellectual maturity that most high schoolers don't have) don't. A high school curriculum in programming would probably be obsolete in a few years, so that probably discourages schools from offering courses.

There might be less here than meets the eye.

Girls taking shop class (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013185)

In other news, very very very very very few girls take shop class.

Why the sex disparity?

What are shop teachers doing to discourage girls?

We are going to have a HUGE problem in the future with a shortage of women in the trades!

Because the way things are going, the trades will be paying a lot better than programming and if Silicone Valley has their way, it'll be a minimum wage job.

Re:Girls taking shop class (4, Insightful)

GT66 (2574287) | about a year ago | (#46013615)

The problem is this: everywhere "non-minority" males compete and excel, they are accused of bias and the problem is resolved with constraints that increasingly cripple competitive males until whatever field the social crusaders are destroying looks enough like their paintings.

But there's a flip side to this as well, individuals who may have no real interest in a particular field are being herded into them at the prodding of these social crusaders. How is it any better for society to tell a female or a minority, "We don't like the field you chose so choose again and make sure you choose the one WE want you to be in." What sort of bias does that represent? If a person chooses not to take a choice based on a perception of bias in that choice, *AT THE LEAST* they have had an opportunity to exercise a choice. In the social crusader's paradigm, that person at the worst HAS NO CHOICE and at best can make another choice and endure potential public shaming. There are a plethora of articles out there of women being shamed for making choices in their own interest that do not hew closely enough to preferences of the dominating social crusader class.

Reminds me of that joke headline from the '80s (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013267)

"World to End; Women, Minorities Hardest Hit"

This is ONE EXAM, get a life (3, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about a year ago | (#46013287)

This is an Advanced Placement exam, so we expect few people will take it. You only take this exam if:
- You are going into the field
- You went to a school that taught the advanced stuff
- You have an interest in that as a major
- You think you will pass it
- Your intended college will give you something for it

So when very few students take it, that isn't a big problem. I bet the next headline on this topic will be in a few years from now, when some organization has 50% of the population taking the exam and they want to either lower the passing criteria because so few students pass it, or change the test because everyone teaches to the test and colleges stop accepting it because it is a useless measure.

You mostly increase participation in this test by making sure that those students who meet the above criteria are aware of it. I know people who may have passed it, but never knew it was available or were intimidated by it, etc.

I volunteer to teach teenage girls CS .... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013291)

... provided they are of legal age and wear bikinis to class.

Basketball and Fashion Designer! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013329)

Well, hey, I'm a white midget.
I want to play professional basketball.

And I want to be a fashion designer.

There aren't enough white male midget fashion designers.

Where's my scholarships?

Missing the point? (2)

GT66 (2574287) | about a year ago | (#46013333)

"But the thing is, CollegeBoard AP CS exam records indicate that no Wyoming students at all took an AP CS exam (xls) in 2013, and only a total of 103 Utah students (xls) had reported scores. Let's not forget about the girls and underrepresented minorities, but since AP CS Exam Stats are being spun as a measure of CS education participation (pdf) and equity, let's not forget that pretty much everyone has been underrepresented if we look at the big AP CS picture."

That's the point. They don't care about "non-minority" males. PERIOD. Their only concern are the aforementioned "minority" groups.

The interesting thing is that in a field largely created by white males, the "new" white male beneficiaries of all who came before them now want to declare ownership of the field and decide who should and shouldn't have access to its rewards. Pretty grotesque, don'tcha think?

Re:Missing the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013419)

Are you sure the field was created by white males? Names like Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper come to mind. The question that feminism has failed to answer is what happened?

Re:Missing the point? (1)

GT66 (2574287) | about a year ago | (#46013741)

Good reading skills. If you look closely you'll see the qualifier "largely" in front of "created by white males." I did this for the obviously sexist and racist reason of being succinct while acknowledging that they were not the ONLY ones involved. It was my goal to make my point without actually having to list every single human being who has had a hand in the CS field in the last 100 or whatever years just to satisfy the literalists.

Re:Missing the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013521)

The interesting thing is that in a field largely created by white males, the "new" white male beneficiaries of all who came before them now want to declare ownership of the field and decide who should and shouldn't have access to its rewards. Pretty grotesque, don'tcha think?

Perhaps you should explain your position a little bit better. This article provides evidence that the dramatic-hand-waving accusations, such as the one you are appearing to make, do not hold up to the facts.

I keep re-reading your post and it makes zero sense! Are you implying that white males prevented anyone else form developing the field? How, as you accuse, are white males denying access to "rewards" from those that created the field?

Frankly, your post comes off as an incoherent attempt to parrot the whining of a self-entitled group that is unwilling to do the work required to get the job. 'They stole our jobs. They're keeping us down. We shouldn't have to work for this. Gimme. Gimme. Gimme.'

Where have I heard this before?

Re:Missing the point? (1)

GT66 (2574287) | about a year ago | (#46013843)

Keep re-reading it'll make sense to you sooner or later. If I have time I'll develop a pop-up book that you might find easier to digest but in the meantime, I'll give it a retry. In a field where the majority (notice that qualifier AC#1) of contributions were made by white males, the new breed of white males who have made their way to the top of the field now want to close the door of opportunity to successive white males behind them.

Related but Off Topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013341)

I have an electrical engineering degree; when my two nieces wanted to go into engineering in college, I warned them off of electrical engineering and computer science because it has appeared to me that both of those careers are moving overseas as fast as they possibly can, and jobs in the US will be few and far between. They both chose mechanical engineering, and both now have masters degrees and have had absolutely no problem whatsoever finding a job. My nephew, on the other hand, did get a doctorate in computer science and he is now in Europe working since he couldn't find anything suitable in the US.

Re:Related but Off Topic (1)

jordanjay29 (1298951) | about a year ago | (#46014021)

I can imagine that US companies could find about three people with Bachelors in CS to work at the same rate they'd have to pay your nephew. And fifteen are applying for the same job.

Honestly, outside of academia and professional degrees (doctor, lawyer, etc), it doesn't make much sense to get a post-grad education in the US unless you know there's a job lined up for it.

I have a dream... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013351)

...that one day immutable characteristics unrelated to the quality of our code will be a critical measure in society's measure of the enterprise that required said code.

CS education for all?" (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#46013361)

shouldn't the goal at this stage of the game really be CS education for all?

If you really mean Computer Science rather than general IT skills or computer literacy then no. True some subject should give a taster of what computer science involves, but most people need to understand computer science to do what they do with computers as much as they need to understand automotive mechanics to drive or fluid dynamics to run their washing machine.

AP CS Stats Spin in Sunday's LA Times (3, Insightful)

theodp (442580) | about a year ago | (#46013401)

AP CS stats spin [latimes.com] in Sunday's LA Times by a member of Code.org's Advisory Board: 'Unfortunately, only a narrow band of students - predominantly white and Asian males - is developing the necessary skills to step into these high-paying jobs in computer science. Latinos, African Americans and girls of all ethnic backgrounds are being left behind. In 2013, 29,555 students took the Advanced Placement computer science exam, but only 18% were female, 4% African American and 3% Mexican American...A great majority of today's computer scientists started down their career paths because of "preparatory privilege."'

Its the mormons (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#46013409)

Don't they realise that the IT industry runs on coffee!

nobody can bear to use windows anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013415)

that could cause a shortage of supplicants? let them use POT (Personal Open Terminal) & explore the information culture without cookies & being milked?

Re:nobody can bear to use windows anymore? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#46013473)

>that could cause a shortage of supplicants?

Don't bring 802.1X into this.

Stop pushing people into CS who don't want it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013507)

Not everybody needs to be able to write programs, let alone develop algorithms. You're just creating a lot of people who have a disdain for CS and IT. The untalented people who end up doing it anyway because of the sunk investment of time and money will do more harm than good. If you don't find enough programmers, then lower your entry requirements and train them yourself, instead of hoping that someone else will create "specialists in everything" that you can hire for a pittance.

You don't get it. (4, Informative)

goodmanj (234846) | about a year ago | (#46013529)

I went to a large, fairly rural high school in a not-particularly-poor area. We had AP U.S. history and AP English. That's it.

Many of you (especially those of you who read and write the New York Times) come from adequately-funded suburban schools, and while you've watched The Wire and think you know what urban schools are like, you have no idea how weak the educational programs at rural high schools are.

Take a nod from the jihadists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013593)

I know, let's recruit some jihadists to teach us how to force everyone to swear allegiance to the great "bog CS"... even those who don't want to study CS. Freedom of choice? Bah!!! Let the beheadings and bombings begin.

Who cares about CS education anyways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013737)

Honestly, the "coders" that people want more of in this country don't need to be CS majors or AP CS takers. The world doesn't need very many people who understand CS at any deep level. Anyone of slightly above average intelligence can learn to write useful code in a pragmatic way and do at least as well as the average H1-B they're trying to replace, without anything more than a few months of pragmatic training on how to write software.

And for those small few (and it will always be a small few) who can (and want to) go on to be rock-star badass developers and/or heavy CS thinkers advancing the state of algorithms - they self-select and self-train anyways and will get there on their own, and any kind of formal education policy has very very little to do with how many of them we end up with.

title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013767)

In what way does the summary support the title?

AP exams vs undergrad major (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#46013811)

The AP exam rate for this course might not be a very good metric at all for measuring how many kids are going to go into CSci for their undergrad. When I did my undergrad I found that the AP credits I qualified for generally were only applied if they were for courses outside my major. Hence if you had a qualifying AP CSci score but majored in CSci it didn't count, while if you were majoring in something else it did.

What my high school classmates and I did with this information, then, was use it to justify taking AP tests in our non-major courses so we could get out of some of the LibEd coursework that would otherwise fill up our undergrad schedules when we could otherwise be taking higher-level math and science courses.

Just in: Races are different... as are the sexes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46013817)

LOL.

People serious about CS go to a CC (3, Insightful)

Zeorge (1954266) | about a year ago | (#46013899)

No, really. It's like with math. If you are serious about either the CS or other science field you go and take those classes at a community college. The HS program is built around the low-common denominator. The rationalization to spend money on programs that will have a low ROI is not there. You are going to need a school district with a lot of kids and with a lot of kids interested in sciences in order to promote the better science programs. This is how you get the magnet schools where they pool all these like minded kids together as it's more effective, money wise, to have these programs in one location. Spreading them out over an entire school district would be costly and would ultimately be under utiltized. So, if you are really good at math and computer science, etc, the best option for everyone is to go to a commuity college and take those courses. Not only will you learn more, the equipment will probably be better, and, you can actually transfer these credits into a four-year program. I think a solution would be for a HS to focus on being a HS and for kids that have the talent refer them to a better equipped facility, at no additional cost to the parents.

How does this compare to other AP exams (1)

ChrisC1234 (953285) | about a year ago | (#46013987)

In high school ('93-'97), I took every AP class I could (CS, English, Chemistry, History, etc). Each class had about 20 to 30 people in it, and I don't think a single one of us took the AP exam. AP wasn't so much about being able to take an exam to get college credit, but was more about being challenged. For me, I specifically did it to better prepare me for college. And honestly, it made college easier, and I did better overall than I would have otherwise.
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