CSforCA News & Updates

New Report on Equity in Computer Science Education in California’s Schools

June 17, 2019
Share on Twitter

On June 17th, Kapor Center and the Computer Science for California (CSforCA) coalition released Computer Science In California’s Schools: An Analysis of Access, Enrollment, and Equity. The report provides an analysis of K-12 computer science education in California from 2014-2018, and shows that students across the state lack access to the foundational computing knowledge and skills needed by all students. Just 3% of California’s 1.9 million high school students took a computer science course in 2017. The report also reveals significant disparities by race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and geography of California students who have access to, enroll in, and succeed in computer science courses. 

While the report demonstrates that computer science course availability is growing rapidly and trends in a positive direction overall in California, almost two-thirds of schools still lack any computer science courses.  It also shows clearly that California students of color, girls, and students in low-income and rural communities are far less likely to learn computer science in school. Such findings include:

  • Low-income schools are four times less likely to offer Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science courses. 
  • Female students comprise 50% of California’s high school population, but just 29% of students taking introductory CS courses.
  • 60 percent of California’s high schoolers are Black, Latinx, and Native American/Alaskan Native students, but they comprise just 16 percent of students taking the AP Computer Science A exam—and shockingly, Black students comprise just 1 percent.
  • There are significant disparities for Black and Latinx students in rates of passage of Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science exams. 

While there is much to celebrate with the progress California is making by increasing student enrollment in introductory computer science courses, nearly doubling in the past three years,  this report highlights the need for us to double-down on our commitment to equity and ensure all California's schools have access to rigorous teaching and learning opportunities in computer science education in California.

Explore Related Articles