As a recipient of the national Advanced Placement Computer Science Female Diversity Award, Bartlesville High School has been singled out nationwide for its efforts to close the gender gap in computer sciences.
The school is one of 1,119 throughout the country to receive the award from the College Board, a nonprofit association best known for its SAT college entrance examination. That is nearly 37% more than the 818 schools recognized the previous year.
“The career skills students learn in the computer science courses are in-demand skills that will help them succeed in college and the workforce,” said BHS Principal LaDonna Chancellor. “I’m proud to be part of a district focused on supporting (such) programs.”
In Oklahoma, six high schools received the recognition, including fellow 6A districts Southmoore and Yukon. The remaining schools recognized are Grove High School, Cheyenne High School and Oklahoma Christian School in Edmond.
Bartlesville qualified for the honor because it had 50% or higher female examinee representation in its AP Computer Science Principles course in 2019-20.
Increasing the number of female students in computer science courses has been a goal for BHS since first introducing the computer science curriculum in the fall of 2015, Chancellor said. Students in high school now had the opportunity to participate in introductory computer science courses in middle school and an introductory computer science course in high school.
“I believe participating in these courses has led to more participation overall including more female participation,” Chancellor said. “Female students are less likely than male students to attempt a course they aren’t confident in. The introductory computer science courses give students confidence they can succeed in the Advanced Placement Computer Science program.”
According to recent College Board research, female students who take AP Computer Science Principles in high school are more than three times as likely to major in computer science in college than those who did not take the course.
And AP Computer Science Principles students are nearly twice as likely to enroll in the more advanced AP Computer Science A course; Computer Science Principles was the first AP STEM course for more than half of the students who took it in 2019.
“Today’s students need the power to shape technology, not just cope with it,” said Stefanie Sanford, College Board chief of Global Policy and External Relations. “Young women deserve an equal opportunity to become the next generation of entrepreneurs, engineers, and tech leaders. Closing the gap in computer science education empowers young women to build the future they want.”