More girls, African-Americans enroll in AP computer science. Why that matters.


‘You are role-playing a turtle. You can only move forward and only turn left. Remember, be the turtle.” 

The students listen to their teacher’s instructions and dutifully turn to their laptops, where the challenge awaits. On the screen is a small white box and a small black turtle, and next to it a larger box appears to type in their code. The room fills with clicking sounds and hushed whispers as the students get to work on their challenge: Program the turtle to move along the square path.

Mike Liang, the students’ computer science teacher, walks around the classroom dropping hints. Students cheer quietly as their turtles scuttle across the screen. They are good at this; some have been doing it since the first grade. 

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