Date of Graduation
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)
Curriculum and Instruction
Second Committee Member
Computer Science Education, Enrollment in Computer Science, Females in Computer Science, Female Underrepresentation
“Women have played a vital role in the field of computer science and information technology (IT), developing some of the most essential components of modern IT” (Purdue University Global, 2018). Despite their prominence and achievements in these career fields, computer science has experienced a noticeable decline in the representation of females in industry and in programs of study. This is not a phenomenon reserved for the college classroom and/or the world of work, but is a situation present across schools in the P-12 arena, to include ZBF High School. As such, the purpose of this work was to examine the problem of practice on how to increase the number of females enrolling in computer science education at ZBF High School.
Two research questions emerged and were instrumental in guiding the direction of this study: (1) Why are female students underrepresented in computer science education at ZBF High School? and (2) What are the influencing factors on females’ decisions regarding computer science? A mixed-methods research protocol was selected to conduct the investigation, which sought to discover why females were underrepresented, as well as to determine the influencing factors. Based on a survey of 24 ninth grade female students, combined with focus group input from six of the survey participants, the data revealed that females at ZBF High School are generally not interested in computer science. Self-efficacy in math and related courses/activities were deemed to be the driving force behind the lack of interest. To rectify this situation, it was determined that a concerted effort on the part of all stakeholders, to include students, would need to be undertaken to fashion a solution that could engender change.
The need to increase the number of females in the area of computer science education was an issue that had characteristic implications of an instructional and/or a systemic nature and, therefore, warranted an investigation that began with the impacted group, female students. Based on literature and results of this study, the computer science curriculum could better serve its intended purpose if it were to be revamped and vertically articulated so that “recruitment” actually begins at the elementary level. This revised and realigned curriculum should incorporate activities and/or courses that would engage female students in creative design and resourceful problem solving projects that would allow them to see how human computer interaction is utilized to help people and society. As documented in research, activities of this nature would capture the attention of female students in a manner that would lead them to select computer science as a course of study at the high school level. Successful execution of this recommended restructuring would have the propensity to reverse the problem of underrepresentation of females in computer science education at ZBF High School, thus increasing the available pool of females who are prepared to enter positions in current and emerging technical career fields.
Frazier, Z. B. (2020). Increasing Female Enrollment in High School Computer Science Education. Graduate Theses and Dissertations Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/etd/3764
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