Collaborative Research: CAFECS: AP CSP Access for All

(CSP Access for All)

October 2022


Steven McGee

The Learning Partnership

Lucia Dettori

DePaul University

Andrew Rasmussen

Chicago Public Schools

The Learning Partnership, DePaul University, and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will collaborate to increase access to and success in AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP), for African American and Hispanic students, who are traditionally underrepresented in computer science and specifically in AP computer science courses. Each year, about 14,000 students in CPS graduate with one year of high school computer science credit in fulfillment of the district?s computer science graduation requirement. This accomplishment was the culmination of over a decade of work by the Chicago Alliance For Equity in Computer Science research-practice partnership, which includes CPS teachers, CPS administrators, university computer science faculty, and educational researchers. However, access to advanced computer science courses, specifically AP CSP, remains limited, resulting in significant racial and ethnic disparities in access and outcomes. With a specific focus on African American and Hispanic students, the goal of this project is to ensure that every CPS high school offers AP CSP, that enrollment in the course reflects the demographics of each school, and success on the AP exam is equivalent by race, ethnicity, and gender. In addition to addressing inequity in computer science education and supporting teacher professional development, the project will ultimately lead to the development of a stronger and more diverse computing workforce that will enhance U.S. economic competitiveness.

The project will provide systems of support to address the challenges inherent in preparing all students and teachers for success in AP CSP and ensure the course is taught using culturally responsive pedagogy. An increasing proportion of new AP CSP teachers do not have a deep background in computer science, and this project will provide content-specific professional development and ongoing coaching. Teachers will be scaffolded in implementing culturally responsive teaching practices through the Exploring Connections to Computer Science activities and professional development program. These practices are especially important for addressing gaps in course outcomes experienced by students of color who are the focus of this project. The project will reach approximately 75 teachers, which would be sufficient to have at least one CSP teacher in every school that does not currently offer AP CSP. As a result, the number of students taking AP CPS should double from roughly 2000 to 4000 students within three years with the increase coming primarily from students at neighborhood schools who identify as Black or Hispanic. The project will engage in hypothesis-driven research to identify factors that predict, facilitate or hinder implementation of AP CSP in neighborhood schools and create a framework of strategies to support the district-wide effort to expand AP CSP.

Grant IDs


McGee, S., Dettori, L., &  Rasmussen, A. (2022). Collaborative Research: AP CSP Access for All [Grant].