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High school students are more likely to take AP computer science if they live in Maryland or Rhode Island

Montana has the lowest.

Three scholarship winners are given laptop computers. Darren Hauck/Getty Images for Taco Bell
Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

More high school students around the U.S. took college computer science courses last year than ever before, but in what states are they more likely to take advanced coding classes?

Rates of adoption vary heavily state to state. Maryland and Rhode Island rank the highest, according to new 2016-2017 school year data from the College Board collected by, an advocacy group that’s been pushing for more computer science in schools. More than 41 percent of AP high schools in those two states offer such courses. Montana came in last place with just two percent of the state’s AP high schools offering computer science.

Nationally, 22 percent of high schools that have AP classes offer AP computer science courses, up from about 16 percent last year. About 73 percent of U.S. high schools have AP programming to begin with.

States that have seen the biggest growth in these courses are ones that have specifically allocated education funding to computer science, according to Katie Hendrickson, director of state government affairs at Rhode Island, Arkansas, Washington and Nevada were among the states that saw big jumps in their computer science offerings last year.

AP courses, run by the College Board, give high school students a chance to gain college credit in computer science. Students who take AP computer science in high school are twice as likely to pursue computer science in college. In turn, computer science graduates have the highest paying jobs of any industry.

Last year was the first time schools offered AP Computer Science Principles, which offers a wider variety of programming languages than the regular computer science AP. The course resulted in record numbers of women and people of color taking computer science courses.

Last school year, 37 percent of all AP computer science Principles students used curriculum from, which is funded partly by Microsoft, Facebook and Infosys. The organization expects to furnish curriculum for about 50 percent of schools that offer CS Principles this year.

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