Model Laboratory School is one of only twenty-one high schools in the Commonwealth to earn the College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award.
The award recognizes schools 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).
Schools receiving the award have achieved either 50% or higher female exam taker representation in one of or both AP computer science courses, or a percentage of female computer science exam takers that meets or exceeds that of the school’s female population.
As a part of Model’s graduation requirements, all students must successfully complete either AP Computer Science Principles, AP Computer Science A, or Coding Principles to fulfill the quantitative and computational reasoning competency.
Last year, 26 Model Laboratory High School students, 13 of whom were young women, enrolled in the AP CSP course and took the exam. Ultimately, 15 students passed the exam with a qualifying score of 3, 4 or 5 and earned college credit.
Lily Gardner, a current Model freshman, is one student who earned college credit in the AP CSP course last year. The course is designed to be the equivalent to a first-semester introductory college computing course, but to Gardner, it was much more than that. She stated, “We worked on practical skills throughout the year like communication, design, problem-solving and collaboration. Then for the exam, we got to create something really useful based on what we were interested in and what we thought was needed in the world.”
Young women who take AP CSP in high school are more than five times as likely to major in computer science in college, compared to similar students who did not take CSP, according to a 2019 College Board research study. The study also finds AP CSP serves as a stepping-stone to other advanced AP STEM coursework.
Gardner explained that she anticipates using the skills she learned in AP CSP throughout the rest of her academic and professional career. “I think that giving young women the opportunity to study computer science encourages them to go into the field and bring new ideas, creative perspectives and break stereotypes in male-dominated fields.”
For the complete listing of schools that earned the College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award, visit the AP Central website. A total of 1,119 schools across the nation were recognized for their work toward equal gender representation in the computer science field during the 2019-2020 school year.