Foxcroft is one of two schools in Virginia and only 64 in the world to earn the prestigious College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Awards for achieving high female representation in both AP Computer Science A (AP CSA) and AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) courses during the 2021-22 academic year.
This is the second time Foxcroft has received both the AP CSA and AP CSP Female Diversity Awards and the fourth time it has received AP Computer Science Female Diversity Awards. The prior Awards were for both categories for the 2019-20 academic year, AP CSA during the 2018-19 academic year, and AP CSP for the 2017-18 academic year.
“This recognition is a proud moment for Foxcroft,” said Head of School Cathy S. McGehee. “Our School is leading the way in STEM education for girls by encouraging our students in record numbers to participate in computer science. The technology field is one where women continue to be underrepresented, and efforts such as ours can make a difference. Congratulations to our AP Computer Science students and their outstanding teachers.”
Schools receiving the Award have either 50% 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 vital work that our faculty and School are doing to engage students in computer science.
“Our students’ broad participation in Computer Science has helped grow other programs at Foxcroft, including the CyberPatriot competition, eSports, and most significantly, the FIRST Tech Robotics Challenge,” said Innovation Lab Director (and AP CSP teacher) Alex Northrup. “Of the 40 teams that competed at our most recent robotics event, Foxcroft was the only all-girls team.”
The first year that College Board offered AP Computer Science Principles in 2016-17, the course attracted more students than any other AP course debut, and participation continues to rise. In 2022, 134,651 students took the AP CSP Exam — more than triple the number of exam takers in the course’s first year. In 2022, 44,811 women took the AP CSP Exam, more than three times the number who tested in 2017. AP Computer Science A, which first debuted in 1988, continues to grow. In 2022, 77,753 students took the AP CSA exam, including 19,786 women — a 39% increase in female participation since 2017.
Computer science is the source code of our economy and so much of our daily lives,” said Trevor Packer, College Board Head of the AP Program. “In the five years since we began the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award, it’s been heartening to see schools like Foxcroft welcome more young women into this vital field.”
Providing female students with access to computer science courses is necessary to ensure gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and to drive innovation, creativity, and representation. Per research compiled by College Board, the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $97,430 in May 2021. However, women represent just 24% of the five million people in computing occupations.
According to a Google study
, 54% of female computer science majors took AP CSA in high school. College Board research
also finds AP CSP students are nearly twice as likely to enroll in AP CSA and that for most students, AP CSP serves as a stepping stone to other advanced AP STEM coursework. Additionally, research from the International Coalition of Girls’ Schools (ICGS)
shows that attending an all-girls school strengthens interest and success in STEM fields. Specifically, in math and computer skills, girls’ school graduates rate confidence in their abilities at least 10% higher than their co-educated counterparts.
These findings highlight the importance of schools nationwide achieving gender parity in AP computer science classrooms. The 1,105 schools that receive this year’s AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award serve as inspirations and models for all U.S. high schools.