Thoughts on diversity

Mike Zamansky:

It gives a reasonable overview of the gender issues in computer science education. The article talks about the drop in popularity of the old Advanced Placement AB course and its eventually being dropped as well as thoughts on how the current A course is pretty dry.

It made me think about the old vs new exams. The current APCS A exam is roughly analogous to a typical college 101 course: programming in one language and one paradigm. The old AB class represented a 101 and a 102 with the 102 being data structures and algorithms. Much more interesting for both guys and girls. Over the years, the AP A exam has become more and more vocational, at least in my opinion, and that makes matters worse. Its more and more about using the language and built in collections and less about thinking and problem solving. What’s fun about that?

Of course, we teach our version, a super-set, of the AB curriculum over the course of a school year.

Interesting that even though we teach that old school hardcore CS, we far exceed the national numbers in terms of gender balance, but more on that later.