Stop Using AP Tests for Statistics

A significant number are choosing not to take it.

The College Board lead AP Computer Science is fundamentally and irreparably broken at this point. Students and educators who understand this choose to not even enroll in the archaic program that teaches such ridiculous things as lists starting as 1 and focus on object-oriented programming while reputable educational organizations like Carnegie Mellon stop teaching OOP to freshman in 2011.

For example, I have a student who got a perfect score on his STEM ACTs and is getting straight As in his other AP courses but specifically chose not to waste his time with the incredibly broken AP Computer Science program. Your stats fail entirely to capture this most important member of the demographics you claim to represent. He’s not the only one.

Moreover big organizations no longer require a college education and make a big deal ensuring everyone knows that.

IBM even created it’s own P-Tech program partially to bypass college all together.

Yet well-meaning people like Hadi Parvoti and others watching the statistics of coding education continue to produce false conclusions based on bad data—and they have huge megaphones through which to shout their false conclusions.

The data is fundamentally flawed because it is measuring things that any knowledgable coding student would consciously choose not to participate in. Instead, they insist on sampling from old-school educational pipelines.

This is wrong and will only get worse as more and more well-informed young coders and their parents choose to not participate in a fundamentally broken system.

Thankfully well-informed universities like Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon and others actually understand why so many applicants are choosing not to do anything with AP Computer Science and instead supplement with real coding activities and projects through organizations like freeCodeCamp and others.

Perhaps as more colleges have the courage to speak out against the broken College Board AP program, which to date has not happened largely because of the educational self-feeding ecosystem, then people like Hadi will look for other sources of data.

Until then, I will enjoy watching kids walk into amazing schools without having even taken a single AP Computer Science course who could blow the socks off any student who learned about the <marquee> tag in “advanced HTML5 programming,” better yet, all those who walk into $90k jobs without even stepping foot on a college campus.

It’s a new day and a great time to be a coder. Enter the “new collar” generation.