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Female Computer Sciences Learners’ Pathways to STEM Major Choices in Four-Year Universities
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, Xavier University, United States

Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Las Vegas, NV, United States ISBN 978-1-939797-37-7 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between the number of CS credits earned in high school and female learners’ Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) major choice in four-year institutions to determine whether taking more credits in computer sciences is a contributing factor for female learners to take a STEM career pathway. In a nationally represented sample of U.S. young adults drawn from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002/2006 (ELS: 2002/2006), multilevel structural equation modeling revealed that 1) female students were less likely to take CS courses compared to their male counterparts, which was partially attributed to the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields; 2) the contributing effect of earning more CS credits was comparable to that of math scores on the American College Testing (ACT) and math self-efficacy which were well-documented predictors for STEM major selection, and 3) no significant difference was found in the effects of ACT math scores on STEM major selection between male and female students, which broke the dominant view that women’s underrepresentation in STEM fields is largely affected by the gender gap in math performance favoring male students. The results of this study inform diverse stakeholders in K-12 community that it is essential to encourage female learners to take more CS courses and further, adopt CS-based learning in other traditional classrooms.

Citation

Lee, A. (2019). Female Computer Sciences Learners’ Pathways to STEM Major Choices in Four-Year Universities. In K. Graziano (Ed.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 1185-1195). Las Vegas, NV, United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved December 15, 2019 from .

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