People keep asking me about how we’re doing with respect to gender balance and CS education at Stuy.
Rather than writing the same email again and again, I figured I’d summarize things here.
We’ve done rather well at Stuy. I might write more in depth at some point in the future but we don’t dumb anything down and we aren’t patronizing. I think much of the success can be attributed to:
- Awesome teachers that really know their CS and are great teachers.
- Teachers that buy into the same insanity.
- Well designed courses in a well designed sequence.
- A well designed required intro course where young ladies can see that this stuff is cool and women are just as good at it as men.
- Did I mention awesome teachers.
- An atmosphere where everyone feels accepted.
An important fact to consider here is that Stuyvesant is only 40% female so our numbers are actually even better than they appear. Also, we’ve typically offered AP CS to 150 students and our senior classes to between 60 and 120 students. Even with these numbers, we’re always over subscribed (it’s not uncommon to have 300 - 400 students out of a class of about 800 students request AP Computer Science).
You might wonder why I included the C Physics numbers. Of all the other STEM AP classes, C Physics is probably the most analagous to AP Comp Sci.
- Both are electives that are traditionally male dominated.
- Both follow a required class in an earlier grade.
- Neither is a graduation requirement,
- but C Physics can fulfill one of Stuyvesant’s senior science elective requirements.
I didn’t look at Calculus because at Stuy, Calc is just “the next math course” so just students take it regardless of gender.
Another difference is that AP CS is offered mostly to juniors and that the students have additional classes they can take in their senior year.
Notice that Stuy CS outperforms the national gender breakdown while Stuy C Physics doesn’t. The point is that it’s not a Stuy thing, it’s something we’re doing in our little CS corner of the world.
Another interesting morsel is that we recently had our demo night. There were 13 combined students on the four winning teams. 6 were young ladies so women were in no way dominated in our most advanced class.
So, there you have it. What’s going on with gender and CS at Stuy.