Computer science not widely taught in Washington area schools


Steven Weber, 16, of Ashburn, Va., makes a "pitch" for a flash-card studying program he created during a computer science Microsoft start-up course in Reston. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Long after the world went digital, computer science courses are not a regular part of the academic day for most high school students in the Washington region, according to a collection of data The Washington Post has assembled.

The figures reflect enrollment in high school courses such as Computer Programming 1, Exploring Computer Science and Advanced Placement (AP) computer science.

Nationally, AP computer science gives a particularly vivid glimpse of the subject, with 29,555 students taking the AP computer science exam nationwide in 2013 — far fewer than the hundreds of thousands who took calculus, for example. In Maryland, 1,629 students took the computer science AP exam, and 1,655 took the exam in Virginia. In D.C.’s public and private schools, there were 96 exam-takers.

Here is a snapshot of the Washington region, by the numbers. School districts appear in order of the size of their high school student population, from largest to smallest:

Fairfax County (Va.)

Total high school students: 51,928

Students in computer science courses: 2,343 (4.5 percent)

Students who took the AP computer science exam in 2013: 740

Total number of high schools: 27

High schools with computer science courses: 17

High schools with AP computer science: 17

Full-time and part-time computer science teachers: 24

Montgomery County (Md.)

Total high school students: 45,132

Students in computer science courses: 2,746 (6.1 percent)

Students who took the AP computer science exam in 2013: 521

Total number of high schools: 25

High schools with computer science courses: 19

High schools with AP computer science: 19

Full-time and part-time computer science teachers: At least 50

Prince George’s County (Md.)

Total high school students: 35,174

Students in computer science courses: 209 (0.6 percent)

Students who took the AP computer science exam in 2013: 105

Total number of high schools: 23

High schools with computer science courses: 11

High schools with AP computer science: 5

Full-time and part-time computer science teachers: 11

Prince William County (Va.)

Total high school students: 24,665

Students in computer science courses: 705 (2.9 percent)

Students who took the AP computer science exam in 2013: 124

Total number of high schools: 11

High schools with computer science courses: 9

High schools with AP computer science: 5

Full-time computer science teachers: 10

Loudoun County (Va.)

Total high school students: 19,813

Students in computer science courses: 845 (4.3 percent)

Students who took the AP computer science exam in 2013: 341

Total number of high schools: 13

High schools with computer science courses: 13

High schools with AP computer science: 13

Full-time and part-time computer science teachers: 13

D.C. Public Schools

Total high school students: 10,200

Students in computer science courses: Over 400 (3.9 percent)

Students who took the AP exam in computer science in 2013: 7

Total number of high schools: 16

High schools with computer science courses: 6, growing to 10 next year

High schools with AP computer science: 1

Full-time and part-time computer science teachers: 8

Arlington County (Va.)

Total high school students: 5,847

Students in computer science courses: 370 (6.3 percent)

Students who took the AP computer science exam in 2013: 15

Total number of high schools: 4

High schools with computer science courses: 4

High schools with AP computer science: 4

Full-time and part-time computer science teachers: 4

Alexandria (Va.)

Total high school students: 3,324

Students in computer science courses: 7 (0.2 percent)

Students who took the AP computer science exam in 2013: 14

Total number of high schools: 1

High schools with computer science courses: 1

High schools with AP computer science: 1

Full-time and part-time computer science teachers: none, teacher resigned

Note: Figures in most cases do not include courses given under Career and Technical Education, which may include some computer science.

Donna St. George writes about education, with an emphasis on Montgomery County schools.
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