While most classes attract a rather balanced mix of girls and boys, certain courses remain largely dominated by one gender.
Here the worst offender is AP Computer Science, which is 80 percent male.
“Ideally the class would be 50/50 boys to girls,” Grupp said. “But right now there is currently a high demand for females in the tech industry.”
To demonstrate his point regarding the necessity of having a balanced workforce, Grupp posed a hypothetical question.
“Who would best design an app for girls? And who would best design an app for boys?” Grupp asked.
While the gender make-up of this class is highly skewed, Grupp hopes to see female enrollment increase in the coming years.
“A large focus of the curriculum and of the class is actually focused on girls who code and recruiting girls, because it’s important,” Grupp said.
AP Spanish has the second most disproportionate ratio of male to female students, followed closely by AP Physics (1/2).
Senior Westin Prichard believes that AP French attracts more students in general because “the instruction is more enjoyable and the teachers are very engaged in both the learning and culture.”
In Physics, the difference between girls and boys is significantly worse than either Biology or Chemistry.
“It’s a systemic issue,” said physics teacher Dean Baird. “Researchers have demonstrated the problem but haven’t found any real solutions that are backed by statistics. But it is a real problem that I wish I knew how to solve.”
Baird noted that studies indicated that having a female teacher would attract more girls to take the class, but “that’s one step [he] won’t take.”
On the other hand, certain AP classes including French, Biology and Literature are primarily taken by girls.
“I think males tend to pushed towards STEM, while females are encouraged to take more liberal arts classes, which is why you see the differences in gender.”
Although the numbers have been gradually improving, the disparity remains an issue the school should be aware of and actively trying to eliminate.