Memorial High earns AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award

McAllen Memorial High has earned the College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in the AP Computer Science Principles course.

Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded young women’s access to AP computer science courses.

Out of the 20,000 institutions that offer the AP Computer Science Principles course, 818 achieved this important result during the 2018-19 school year. This award is based on the number of AP exams taken by females in comparison to the number of males at the same campus. Just 32 institutions in Texas earned the Female Diversity Award for the AP Computer Science Principles course.

Schools receiving the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have achieved either 50 percent or higher female representation in either or both of the AP computer science courses, or the percentage of female computer science examinees meets or exceeds that of the school’s female population. 

McAllen ISD brought a lot of important elements together to be in a position to offer computer science courses. This included teacher training, recruiting students interested in the course and having the best technology available for the students to use in programming.

The course was launched in 2016 and is offered in all McAllen ISD high schools. It offers students the opportunity to learn the foundational concepts of computer science focusing on problem solving, and real-world application such as 3-D animation, political or scientific analysis or medicine.

In the class, students will be “hands on” developing computational artifacts, analyzing data and information and learning how to program. This course is a “must” for students entering any advanced field. Technology use and computer programming are important for almost every career field and students who have experience in computer science will stand out in the college admissions process and find their computer science background opens doors for them at the university.

The powerful courses for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and many other fields are AP Computer Sciences, AP Sciences, AP Calculus and AP Statistics. Students who have one or more of these courses will be ready for many challenges facing them at a university.  

“Memorial High is empowering young women to see themselves as creators, innovators and problem-solvers,” said Stefanie Sanford, College Board global policy chief. “We hope to see even more high schools inspire female students to harness the potential of an AP computer science education.”

The introduction of AP Computer Science Principles in 2016 was the largest course launch in AP Program history. In 2019, nearly 100,000 students took the AP CSP exam, more than doubling participation in three years. During that time, the number of female AP CSP students has far outpaced overall growth, with an increase of 136 percent.

Providing female students with access to computer science courses is necessary to ensuring gender parity in high-paying technology jobs and to drive innovation, creativity and competition. A 2014 Google study found that women are more likely to pursue computer science if they are given the opportunity to explore it in high school.