Computer Science Education
Gallup-Google Research Finds that Gender Gap Toward CS Remains
- By Dian Schaffhauser
research has found that female students are still skeptical about the
merits of computer science education and show less interest than male
students in learning CS or pursuing careers in the field.
73 percent of boys said they were confident they could learn CS if
they "wanted to," just 60 percent of girls said the same.
This was similar to the gender gap that was reported in 2016 in the
same survey. Also, while almost four in 10 students (38 percent) were
"somewhat interested" in learning CS, interest for girls
(25 percent) was half that of boys (50 percent). Overall, students
who identified as Black, Hispanic or White showed similar levels of
interest (42 percent, 41 percent and 36 percent, respectively).
a quarter of students (23 percent) said they expected to go after a
job in CS one day. But boys were almost three times as likely as
girls to have this expectation — 33 percent versus 12 percent.
results surfaced in a survey done by Gallup in a project supported by
Google. Gallup interviewed a nationally representative sample of
1,402 public and private school students in grades 7-12, as well as
2,092 parents and guardians of students in those grades and 979
public and private school teachers of students in grades preschool
were "generally unconvinced" that CS was important for them
to learn. While 31 percent of girls said CS was important to learn,
49 percent of boys said it was. However, where girls and boys
reported spending at least an hour a week studying CS in school, both
sexes were more likely to say that learning CS was important. That
was true for Black (42 percent), Hispanic (39 percent) and White (39
students, in particular, were more likely to state that CS was
important for all students to learn, 48 percent, compared to 37
percent of Hispanic students and 32 percent of White students.
students were less likely than urban students to want to tell their
friends they were interested in CS — 58 percent compared to 70
CS classes were more common in high school, according to students,
than middle school (55 percent versus 39 percent). Black and Hispanic
students were less likely to say their schools offered dedicated
classes (46 percent each) than White students (52 percent). One in
five students didn't know whether their schools had CS classes. These
percentages were lower than the responses from a 2016 survey that
asked the same questions.
from parents, educators, community leaders, policymakers, nonprofits
and the technology industry are needed to encourage girls, Black
students and Hispanic students to take computer science courses and
ensure that when that interest exists, it’s matched with high
quality learning opportunities," wrote Maggie Johnson, Google's
vice president of research and computer science education, in
a company article.
"These students also need to be shown how CS knowledge can help
them meet their goals in a variety of fields including the
humanities, medicine and the arts."
and Gallup will host a virtual Zoom
on Sep. 30 at noon Pacific time to discuss key takeaways from the
Perspectives and Continuing Challenges in Computer Science Education
in U.S. K-12 Schools" is openly available through
the Google website.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.