Engaging K-12 Students Essential forReducing Gender Gap in Computer Science Education

ID: 44038 Type: Full Paper
  1. Rohith Venkataraman, The Charter School of Wilmington, United States
  2. Eshan Agarwal, The Charter school of Wilmington, United States
  3. David Brown, The Charter School of Wilmington, United States

A strong gender disparity exists within the computer science (CS) field, and this imbalance stretches from the professional domain down to the educational level. In a 2013 study (Venkataraman et. al 2013), students (n = 127) of a northeastern STEM high school were surveyed. Responses were collected and analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis statistical test (P < 0.05) to mitigate unequal cell sizes. Results suggest that females face barriers to entering CS including differences in perception, interests, confidence, and experiences. In a follow up study (2014), second grade students of a STEM lower school were surveyed. Results point to similarities in the attitudes of second grade boys and girls; these results contrast the difference in attitudes found among high school boys and girls. Significant differences were found between second grade students and ninth grade students, suggesting that a transition occurs between second and ninth grade where males’ and females’ perception of CS change.

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