FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2022
Marci McFadden, Chief of Communications & Engagement
Seaside High School Earns the College Board’s AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for Expanding Young Women’s Access to AP Computer Science Principles
Seaside, CA – Seaside High School has earned the College Board’s AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for Expanding Young Women’s Access to AP Computer Science Principles. This award recognizes schools nationwide that are closing the gender gap and expanding young women's access to computer science coursework in AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) and AP Computer Science A (AP CSA). Seaside High is one of only 760 schools in the country to be recognized for achieving this important honor in the AP CSP category.
More than 1,000 institutions achieved either 50% or higher female representation in one of the two AP computer science courses or a percentage of the female computer science exam takers meeting or exceeding that of the school’s female population during the 2020-21 school year. In 2021, Seaside High was one of 760 recognized in the category of AP Computer Science Principles (CSP).
“We’re extremely proud of our female AP computer science students and staff on this step toward gender parity in computer science education,” said Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh. “We’re honored that our school earned this distinction and look forward to seeing these young women, and others pursue and achieve success in computer science education and careers. This honor exemplifies our outstanding work to engage more female students in this field and our long standing commitment to equity,” said Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh.
Research shows that female students who take AP computer science are more likely to major in computer science in college compared to female students of similar background and academic preparation who didn’t take AP computer science courses.
“Seaside High is committed to preparing our female students for the high-paying, in-demand jobs of the future, and giving them the opportunity to help solve some of society’s most challenging problems,” said Tessa Brown, Assistant Principal, Seaside High. Brown was instrumental when she was a teacher and academic lead at Seaside High to expand and enhance the school’s computer science program paving the way for female students.
“By encouraging young women to study advanced computer science coursework, Seaside High is closing the gap in computer science education and empowering young women to access the opportunities available in STEM career fields,” says Stefanie Sanford, College Board chief of Global Policy and External Relations. “Computer science is the foundation of many 21st- century career options, and young women deserve equal opportunities to pursue computer science education and drive technological innovation.”
The first year of AP Computer Science Principles in 2016-17 attracted more students than any other AP course debut, and participation is on the rise. In 2021, more than 116,000 students took the AP CSP Exam—more than double the number of exam takers in the course’s first year. In 2021, 39,218 women took the AP CSP Exam, nearly three times the number who tested in 2017.
Providing female students with access to computer science courses is critical to ensuring gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and to driving innovation, creativity, and representation. The median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $91,250 in May 2020. However, a code.org analysis of 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics data finds women represent just 24% of the five million people in computing occupations. Computing jobs are the number one source of new wages in the U.S., although 67% of all new jobs in STEM are in computing, only 11% of STEM bachelor’s degrees are in computer science.
That’s why College Board research about AP CSP is so encouraging. According to the data, female students who take AP CSP in high school are more than five times as likely to major in computer science in college, compared to female students of similar background and academic preparation who did not take CSP. The study also finds AP CSP students are nearly twice as likely to enroll in AP CSA, and that for most students, AP CSP serves as a stepping stone to other advanced AP STEM coursework.
These findings highlight the importance of schools nationwide achieving gender parity in AP computer science classrooms. Overall, female students remain underrepresented in our high school computer science classes, accounting for just 34% of AP Computer Science Principles participants and 25% of AP Computer Science A participants. Currently, 51% of the nation’s high schools teach foundational computer science. The 1,020 schools that receive this year’s AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award serve as inspirations and models for all U.S. high schools.
About Monterey Peninsula Unified School District
The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District is home to approximately 9,600 students in grades transitional kindergarten through 12th grade. The district also houses preschool and adult education. The district is built on a solid foundation of effective instruction, positive school culture, systems of support, and collaborative leadership. The district is nestled along the Monterey Bay, and stretches from the city of Marina to the north to the city of Monterey to the south, and encompasses the communities of Del Rey Oaks, Marina, Monterey, Sand City and Seaside.
About The College Board
College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success—including the SAT, the Advanced Placement Program, and BigFuture. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators, and schools.