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More Students Taking Ap Physics, Computer Science Exams

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High school students taking a test.

The College Board has found that participation rates for Advanced Placement science exams have risen sharply in the past year.

Credit: U.S. News & World Report

Participation rates for Advanced Placement (AP) science exams rose sharply over the last year, with computer science seeing the second-largest overall increase, according to the College Board.

AP computer science courses saw participation rates rise 25 percent over the last year, from 39,200 to 49,000 students. National Science Teachers Association executive director David L. Evans says the increase is likely due to a rise in both interest and availability. "There's been a lot of effort to increase kids' awareness about coding and computer science in various ways," Evans says. "We're seeing a lot more schools offer AP computer science courses."

Boys continued their dominance of AP Computer Science, making up about 78 percent of the test takers over the last year. However, the participation rate for girls rose 2 percent, while underrepresented minorities increased their participation by half of a percent.

The AP Computer Science exam has long had issues with diversity. Some states have seen no female, African-American, or Hispanic students take the test in recent years. The College Board is attempting to address this disparity with a new course, AP Computer Science Principles, which will focus on a broader range of skills and provide teachers with greater flexibility. The new course is expected to debut in 2016.

From Education Week
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