College Board's New Computer Science Courses Are Meant To Overcome A Lack Of Diversity

In partnership Code.org.

As part of the larger effort to increase the lack of women and minorities in STEM fields, Code.org and College Board will promote computer science courses in high school. The partnership will result in computer science classes for 35 of the U.S.'s largest school districts, a move that Code.org co-founder Hadi Partovi said was a significant step for the field. 

USA Today reported that College Board, the nonprofit group that conducts standardized tests for college admissions, would help Code.org fund its efforts to provide computer science curriculum, tools, training and funding to qualified schools on the stipulation that these schools pick up the PSAT, a test for eighth- and ninth-graders for college-preparation, to identify students who have potential in the field.

An issue that both organizations aim to tackle in particular is the field's lack of gender and racial diversity. Although there was an overall increase in students taking the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam last year, girls and minorities remained underrepresented. In some states, according to Education Week, not one black or Hispanic student took the exam. 

The push to increase representation in the Computer Science field from these historically oppressed groups has come from both the private sector and the federal government. Last week, Intel announced the launch of a computer science pilot program in the Oakland Unified School districts. 

The Obama administration, too, has been a particularly active presence in the effort. Most recently, the White House announced in March that it will invest $240 million in private sector commitments to promote STEM among students, especially among the underrepresented group.

Cover image via iStock.