Hixson High earns first College Board AP award for female participation in computer science courses
Posted on 05/30/2019
Hamilton County Schools logo.Hixson High School has earned the first College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles. Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded access for girls in AP Computer Science courses. Out of more than 18,000 secondary schools worldwide that offer AP courses, Hixson High School is one of only 685 to earn the award, and only 490 high schools earned the honor for the course AP Computer Science Principles.

“Hixson is proud of the achievements of our female students studying computer science,” said Lee Sims, principal of Hixson High. “We’re committed to providing our female students with access to AP Computer Science courses to prepare all of our students interested in computer science for success in critical STEM careers.”

Schools receiving the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have either 50 percent or higher female representation in one of the two AP computer science courses or a percentage of the female computer science examinees meeting or exceeding that of the school’s female population.

“This honor acknowledges the amazing work your school is doing to close the gender equity gap in computer science,” wrote Trevor Packer, College Board senior vice president of the AP Program, in a letter to Hixson High announcing the award. “Through your leadership in this area, you prepare your female students for the high-paying, in-demand jobs of the future and give them the opportunity to help solve some of society’s most challenging problems.”

The AP Computer Science Principles course launch in 2016 was the largest in Program history. AP Computer Science Principles has promoted the growth of AP computer science in high schools. AP computer science course participation increased 135 percent since 2016, broadening STEM career opportunities for more students. The number of female, rural, and underrepresented minority students taking AP computer science exams has more than doubled in that period.

Providing female students with access to computer science courses contributes to gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and drives innovation, creativity, and competition. According to UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics data, less than 30 percent of the world’s researchers are women; in North America and Western Europe, it’s just 32 percent. Research from Southern Utah University funded by Microsoft shows women are more likely to pursue computer science if they’re allowed to explore the courses in high school.