Improving Equity in Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles Courses
Employment in computer-related occupations has grown dramatically. Yet women and people who are Black and Latinx continue to be underrepresented in these occupations. Given that STEM jobs have relatively higher earnings, this continued underrepresentation has significant implications on income. In addition, the harmful effects of systemic bias in computer algorithms and applications such as facial recognition, financial and health care systems, and criminal justice and policing make it increasingly urgent to diversify the STEM workforce.
With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, EDC is leading the Improving Equity in Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles (CSP) program. Building from the lessons of EDC’s Beauty and Joy of Computing and New York City researcher-practitioner partnership project, the program’s goals are to build the capacity of participating high schools to support an AP CSP course centered on the Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) curriculum and to help ensure that all students have access to equitable and excellent computer science instruction.
The project is carrying out the following activities:
- Designing a school-based computer science equity program and implementing the program in 40 high schools across the United States
- Offering the BJC curriculum materials, resources, and support to teachers and students (freely available at bjc.edc.org)
- Providing professional development and implementation support to 40–60 teachers to prepare them to teach an AP CSP course with the BJC curriculum
- Conducting an impact study using a quasi-experimental design to assess the effectiveness of the program at improving student outcomes, particularly for girls, Black and Latinx students, and students from low-income families
- The project will build program capacity in 40 schools and provide BJC professional development to 40–60 teachers.
- The program will serve 1,200–1,600 students, who will receive access to equitable AP CSP instruction across three academic years.
- The research will contribute to the understanding of how CS programs can be designed to support greater participation from girls, Black and Latinx students, and students from low-income families.
- The study will advance knowledge about supports needed for successful implementation of rigorous CS curricula and instruction in high-need schools.
Abt Associates; North Carolina State University; University of California, Berkeley; SAP; Microsoft TEALS; College Board