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States Adopting More Computer Science Policies See Increased Gender Diversity in CS Classrooms

New report provides comprehensive analysis of national progress in expanding access to computer science education

September 11, 2019 – Today, Code.org, the Computer Science Teachers Association, and the Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance, released the 2019 State of Computer Science Education report. The report shows conclusively that as states adopt computer science policies not only are more computer science courses taught across those states, there is also an increase in the participation of female students taking Advanced Placement (AP) computer science exams.

Published annually, the report provides the most comprehensive analysis of national progress in computer science education, featuring national and state-level policy and implementation data with a focus on equity and diversity. 

The report updates each state’s status toward adopting the nine policies recommended by the Code.org Advocacy Coalition and includes updated school-level data collected for the K-12 Computer Science Access Report on the availability of computer science in high schools. “Just six years ago, not a single state considered K-12 computer science education a priority. Today, states are competing to see who can offer the best computer science education for their students. Policymakers, district leaders, and educators inherently understand that expanding access to this field unlocks opportunity for their students’ futures,” said Cameron Wilson, president of the Code.org Advocacy Coalition.

Key findings from the 2019 State of Computer Science Education report include: States that have adopted more of the nine policies have a greater percentage of high schools teaching computer science, and also have an increase in the representation of female students taking AP computer science exams.States that have adopted five to nine of the nine policies show a 56% implementation rate on average, while states that have adopted one to four of the policies show a 39% implementation rate on average.States that have adopted all nine policies have a 65% implementation rate on average compared to 34% for states that have only adopted one of the policies.Since the 2018 State of Computer Science Education report was published, 33 states passed 57 new laws and regulations promoting computer science.When the Code.org Advocacy Coalition began its work in 2013, just 14 states plus D.C. had at least one of these nine policies in place; last year there were 44 states. Today, all 50 states have now adopted—or are in the process of adopting—one or more of the nine policies.Across 39 states, only 45% of high schools teach computer science. Students receiving free and reduced lunch and students from rural areas are less likely to attend a school that provides opportunities to learn this critical subject.Since the K-12 Computer Science Access Report was launched in 2017, the initiative has collected data on 55% of all public K–12 schools and 83% of all public high schools.“Every young person, no matter where they live, deserves the opportunity to learn 21st century skills,” said Brad Smith, President of Microsoft. “While it is encouraging that the gender gap is narrowing, we need to ensure that more women and people of all backgrounds have greater access to computer science education. It is critical for state leaders to build on this progress to ensure every student is prepared for the digital economy.”

“We’re enormously proud to be part of this movement,” said Stefanie Sanford, Chief of Global Policy & External Relations at the College Board. “Changing the invitation to computer science has allowed us to welcome far more talent into the classroom, preparing more students to shape the future.”
"This report illustrates the positive effects of recent policies on increased access for CS education," said CSTA Executive Director Jake Baskin.  "As momentum continues to build nationwide, these examples will help guide states' work in providing all students with a high-quality computer science education." 
“Maintaining a focus on broadening participation in computing in CS advocacy and policy efforts requires access to new data, both locally and nationally,” said ECEP Alliance Director Sarah Dunton. “This national report allows us to disseminate information that immediately sparks conversations, builds connections, and increases action at the state level.”