Educators trying to get more girls in computer science courses

Dec 01, 2016
Ellie Kessler raises her hand at a session at Lanier Middle School in Sugar Hill beginning an annual project for a select number of eight graders under the school’s TWIST program. TWIST stands for Teamwork With Innovative Skills & Technology. The school is kicking off a program to involve more girls in science, technology, engineering and math courses. Georgia, like the rest of the nation, is struggling with an academic gender gap in science and math. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Georgia educators are continuing efforts to get more girls involved in science courses after a report released this week found far more boys here and nationally are taking a computer science class for high achieving students.

More boys took the Advanced Placement Computer Science A exam in Georgia by about a 3-1 margin, the report showed, with 464 girls and 1,569 boys taking the exam earlier this year.

Georgia’s ratio was much better than some states. Eight states had less than 10 girls who took the exam. The report was prepared by Georgia Tech senior researcher Barbara Ericson, who has worked for years to close the gender gap in such classes.

Officials noted some positives in the report, such as a slight majority of Georgia girls had a score on the exam that’s described as qualified or better.

The College Board, which organizes the Advanced Placement courses, is offering a Computer Science Principles course for high school students to get more girls, African-American and Hispanic students in more rigorous courses.