Of more than 100 Utah students who took the Advanced Placement test for computer science, only four were girls.
That puts Utah near the very bottom of the nation for girls’ participation in the test. After Mississippi, Montana and Wyoming — where not one girl took the test — Utah has the lowest rate, with 4 percent of test takers being girls.
The data, gathered by The College Board and reported by Education Week, also showed that Utah had the fifth-lowest success rate in the nation, with only 56 students passing of 103 who took the test.
Minority participation also was low; no black students took the test in Utah, and 6 Hispanic students took the test.
The report adds to evidence that Utah’s approach to computer science education is weak, focusing more on computer *use* than on computer science or programming. Only one-third of Utah high schools teach computer programming or computer science. A 2010 report by the Association for Computing Machinery ranked Utah 38th of the 50 states in computer science education.
A task force that met this summer has urged the state to introduce computer skills earlier and add a more advanced computer class to graduation requirements.