Ap computer Science Institute for Local District Superintendent Approval



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AP Computer Science Institute for Local District Superintendent Approval

Background

In the 2004 school year LAUSD conducted a successful Advanced Placement Computer Science (APCS) Institute. 28 teachers from 22 schools attended the institute. According to data compiled by the Program Evaluation and Research Branch, the number of schools offering APCS more than doubled from 11 in 2003 to 24 in fall of 2004. The total number of students taking AP Computer Science rose from 225 to 395 in the same time period. The number of females doubled from 47 to 107 and the number of Hispanics tripled from 53 to 169 and African American rose 41% from 17 to 24 taking AP Computer Science.


The 2005 proposal for the AP Computer Science Institute addresses the “Action Plan for Culturally Relevant Education that Benefits African American Students and all Other Students” (Tenet 1: Student Opportunity to Learn). It also aligns with federal, state and District initiatives to “eliminate the achievement gap.” The achievement gap is apparent in the low numbers of underrepresented students who are prepared to take advanced math courses, and who major in the math and sciences at postgraduate institutions. African-American and Hispanic students are also underrepresented in math, science, and computer science career fields.
Presently, there are still too few AP Computer Science courses in LAUSD. Only half of the 58 LAUSD high schools that participated in the 2004 AP Examinations currently offer APCS. Thus, there is still insufficient access for underrepresented students who have the necessary math skills to be successful in Advanced Placement computer science. While females outnumber males 19,830 examinations, 59.5% to 13,482 examinations, 40.4 % in the total number of AP examinations taken in LAUSD, they are underrepresented in APCS courses. The table below shows that statewide females account for only 15 % of the 2003 and 16% of the 2004 APCS exams (The College Board).




Afro-American

Latino

Female

White

Asian

2003 APCS exams

47

192

505

1452

1679

2004 APCS exams

39

177

507

1141

1350

In 2004, while the overall number of AP Exams taken has increased, the number of APCS exams taken has decreased. Many schools did not offer APCS course due to the change in programming language for the exam. The table above shows the downward trend with the exception of females.


One of the key indicators for success in AP computer science is completion of the Algebra II course. Information contained in Mem-1306, October 1, 2004 shows that while 2,101 AP calculus examinations were taken by LAUSD students, only 153 students (down from 201 in 2003) took the AP computer science (A) exam and 15 (down from 18 in 2003) took the AP computer science (AB) exam. We believe the 2004 and 2005 AP Computer Science Institutes will begin to reverse this downward trend for the 2005 APCS exams.
Urban school districts across the nation are developing partnerships to improve school capacity and student performance. Among educational reformers and policy-makers, there is increased understanding that the problems in education cannot be addressed in isolation. Through partnerships, school districts are able to move beyond the confines of the districts’ limited resources to address problems that are too vast to be solved alone.
The 2005 AP Computer Science Institute proposal seeks to continue the collaborative partnership among the District, and UCLA, and CISCO Systems established in 2004. The APSC institute will prepare our teachers to teach AP Computer Science using Java and provide our students the best chance to succeed in fields where they are traditionally underrepresented. The 2005 institute will focus on increasing teacher proficiency with the Java programming language as well as spot lighting dynamic pedagogy and student inquiry by integrating the marine biology case study into the Java course to improve instruction and increase student achievement on the AP computer science examination.
UCLA will provide teachers and students with access to university professors and student mentors and the research necessary to ensure success for all students. The partnerships with Cisco will ensure that the skills students acquire through this program are aligned with skills necessary for successful completion of the AP course and competition in the world market. The Cisco Networking Academy has agreed to furnish at no cost a Java course, curriculum, and an online student management system with grade books and assessments. Cisco has also committed to holding Girls in IT day with LAUSD to encourage females to pursue technical careers.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the goal of the program?


Answer

The goal is for participating schools to offer an AP Computer Science A course with 35 students enrolled.


2. How will this be evaluated?
Answer

The program will be evaluated by UCLA and district staff through teacher interviews and surveys, student surveys and examination of District course and student enrollment data as well as AP exam data from The College Board and from the CDE. Teachers will answer pre and post institute survey questions on recruitment, student selection procedures as well questions on effective teaching pedagogies.


3. What determines success?
Answer

  1. Improved teacher readiness to offer AP computer science

  2. 20-28 teachers complete the Java certification

  3. Review UCLA research on effective and dynamic teaching pedagogy for computer science

  4. Increasing the number of schools offering the AP computer science AB course by 25%

  5. Increase the overall number of student taking the AP computer science AB exam from 18 to 100

  6. Increase the number of African Americans taking the course and AP exam by 25-50%

  7. Increase the number Latinos taking the course and the AP exam by 25-50%

  8. Increase the number of females taking the course and AP exam by 25-50%




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