By Grant Smitth
Emerald Data Solutions K12 Classroom Projects Facilitator
It's no secret that there is a huge gender gap in computer science. According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, girls comprise only 19% of all AP Computer Science (CS) test-takers. Also, only 15% of all undergraduate CS degrees are earned by women. In fact, the percentage of women earning CS degrees peaked in 1984 at 35% and has consistently decreased since then.
But, what do girls think about coding before they are old enough to be influenced by stereotypes? You can see clearly on the infographic that girls start Kindergarten feeling like they belong in coding class. However, the older they are, the less they feel like they belong. Thankfully, however, after a year of programming classes, both groups of 8th grade boys and girls ended up having similar levels of confidence for their ability to learn code. This data shows that we can disrupt the myth that “girls just aren’t good at CS.” However, it might take some time to help young women feel just as comfortable in the field as their male peers do.
After one year of taking a required coding class, 903 female students from grades K-8 at Avondale School District in Arizona responded to our survey "What Do Preteen Girls Think About Coding?" To view the study results, CLICK HERE.
* The Elementary School Coding Inniative poineered by Emerald Data Solutions is now being continued by BootUP PD. Visit https://bootuppd.org for more information.