Ursuline Academy of Dallas has earned the first College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science A. Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls' access in AP Computer Science courses.
Out of more than 18,000 secondary schools worldwide that offer AP courses, Ursuline is one of only 685 to accomplish this. Ursuline requires a year of computer science to graduate, and currently, 348 students take computer science courses.
"We're honored by this recognition and are proud of our female students studying computer science for their achievements," Computer Science Department Chair Eve Juarez said. "We're committed to continuing to provide our female students with access to AP Computer Science courses to help prepare a more diverse workforce in critical STEM jobs."
Schools receiving the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have either 50 percent or higher female representation in one of the two AP computer science courses or a percentage of the female computer science examinees meeting or exceeding that of the school's female population. Only 167 schools earned the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for AP Computer Science.
"By inviting many more young women to advanced computer science classrooms, Ursuline Academy of Dallas has taken a significant step toward preparing all students for the widest range of 21st-century opportunities," said Trevor Packer, College Board senior vice president of the AP Program. "We hope this inspires many other high schools to engage more female students in AP Computer Science and prepare them to drive innovation."
AP Computer Science A students learn to design and implement computer programs that solve problems relevant to today's society. AP computer science course participation increased 135 percent since 2016, broadening STEM career opportunities for more students. The number of female, rural, and underrepresented minority students taking AP computer science exams has more than doubled in that period.
Providing female students with access to computer science courses contributes to gender parity in the industry's high-paying jobs and drives innovation, creativity, and competition. According to UNESCO's Institute of Statistics data, less than 30 percent of the world's researchers are women; in North America and Western Europe, it's just 32 percent. Research shows women are more likely to pursue computer science if they're given the opportunity to explore it in high school.