Nearly 55,000 students this year took the Advanced Placement (AP) computer science A exam in the U.S., a 17% gain over last year. Of this group, 23% of test takers were girls, up from 22% in 2015.
Although the total number of high school girls taking the annual exam is increasing nationwide, fewer than 10 girls took the May 2016 exam in eight states, and not a single girl took the test in Mississippi or Montana, according to an analysis of the data from the College Board by the Georgia Institute of Technology's (Georgia Tech) Barbara Ericson.
In South Dakota, only one out of 26 test takers was female, while in Wyoming two out of six test takers were girls.
Ericson cites studies showing girls are often discouraged from entering the computer science field by their teachers and parents.
Meanwhile, 36% of AP computer science test takers in West Virginia were girls, marking the highest percentage of any U.S. state. The pass rate for girls stood at 61%, three points below the national pass rate of 64%.
However, in New Jersey, 69% of girls passed the test, while 67% of girls passed in California and Illinois, and 66% of girls passed in Massachusetts.
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