So few high school students were taking the AP Computer Science AB exam that it was discontinued in 2009.
For the past thirty years, computing has been at the heart of the global innovation revolution, creating entire new industries, transforming existing industries into productive powerhouses, and changing the face of culture across the globe. Computing is driving innovation in existing fields of science and creating entirely new ones. Underlying this revolution is the discipline of computer science. Paradoxically, as the role and significance of computing has increased in society and the economy, quality computer science education in the U.S. K-12 education system is on the decline. The saga of the AP Computer Science AB exam is emblematic of this problem. Between 1997 and 2009, the number of high school students taking AP tests more than doubled, but enrollment in the AP Computer Science AB test grew by just 12 percent. In 2009, more than four times as many students took the AP Art History test as did the AP Computer Science AB test, and, unsurprisingly, the College Board announced that they were discontinuing the Computer Science AB test due to lack of demand. Overall, the number of high schools offering introductory computer science courses has declined by 17 percent since 2005. As these trends continue, the U.S. finds itself unable to produce enough workers with sufficient skills to compete in the global innovation-based economy, jeopardizing our status as the world's innovation leader.