Reducing the gender gap in computer science

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Allison Master with young students learning in front of computer
Allison Master with young students learning in front of computer

Very early in elementary school, boys and girls have equal interest in learning skills used for coding, and confidence in those lessons.  A shift in girls’ interest in computer coding and decrease in their confidence to learn starts around third grade.However, boys’ interest and confidence continue to grow over the years. 

Dr. Allison Master (now at the University of Houston) with colleagues at I-LABS and elsewhere have studied the trajectory of gender differences in STEM learning. Importantly, Master and her colleagues are working to undo those stereotypes by sharing their findings with teachers via their article, “Gender Equity and Motivational Readiness for Computational Thinking in Early Childhood” (Early Childhood Research Quarterly). And they are reaching out to middle school girls and boys to determine what would inspire them to enroll in more computer science classes.

“Because technology and computer science have so many important influences in our society and the ways we can help one another, I think it’s important that we open the doors to broader participation in computer science. We need diversity of ideas and the full range of perspectives from the greater community,” Master explained.

Read the University of Houston press release about the new work.