2021 State of CS report shows half of U.S. high schools offer CS, but disparities still exist

Finally, a slim majority of high schools offer computer science… but why aren’t there more? Data on this, plus continuing diversity gaps and more, are in our latest report.

The percentage of U.S. high schools that offer computer science. *2018 percent is based on data from 24 states and 2019 percent is based on data from 39 states.
On the left, the percentage of public high schools that offer foundational computer science by percent of students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals in the school. Right: The percentage of public high schools that offer foundational computer science by location.

Participation in foundational CS courses

For the first time ever, our State of Computer Science Education report includes state-by-state and nationwide data on participation in high school computer science courses.

Using course code data from state education agencies, we now know that computer science participation is more representative of the student population demographics than previously thought.

On average, Black/African American, Native American/Alaskan, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students are represented in computer science courses at similar rates as their overall population. Although this is encouraging, disparities differ by state. As stated above, Hispanic/Latino/Latina students continue to be underrepresented in computer science classes: They are 1.4 times less likely than their white and Asian peers to enroll in foundational computer science.

Participation in foundational high school CS courses by race/ethnicity. *Student population data is based on grades 9–12 student population across 35 states with CS enrollment data.
Participation in foundational high school CS courses by demographic. *Student population is based on the national K-12 student population demographics, across the states with CS enrollment data

Access to foundational CS

This year, we’re unveiling our school-by-school data for users to see where computer science is offered by state, legislative district, school district, and more. This interactive data visualization allows you to see disparities in access for whichever region or group of schools you choose.

The percentage of public high schools by state offering foundational computer science.

The role of state and federal policy

What can be done to address the gaps we see nationwide and in states? In order to impact access at scale, states must enact policies that support making computer science fundamental. The Code.org Advocacy Coalition has a set of nine policies that help build and sustain a comprehensive policy framework that broadens the teaching and learning of computer science:

Let’s accelerate progress

We call on state leaders to speed up progress in computer science opportunity and access by:

  1. Developing policies and concrete plans focused on expanding CS to every school.
  2. Working to ensure that CS reaches students from the populations that are currently underrepresented.
  3. Examining the data for their state in this report to identify disparities and areas of need for both access and participation.

About the report

Co-authored by the Code.org Advocacy Coalition, the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), and the Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP) Alliance, this is the most comprehensive report of progress in K–12 computer science education across the U.S. It combines state-level policy with course access and participation data in a unique way to assess the progress of the computer science community through a lens of equity and diversity.

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Code.org® is dedicated to expanding access to computer science increasing participation by young women and students from other underrepresented groups.