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Gender and programming achievement in a CSCL environment

TitleGender and programming achievement in a CSCL environment
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsBruckman, A., C. Jensen, and A. DeBonte
Secondary AuthorsStahl, G.
Conference NameProceedings of the International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning: CSCL 2002
Date Published01/2002
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics
Conference LocationBoulder, CO

In this study, we analyzed 3.4 Gb of log file data from the participation of 475 children in a CSCL environment over a period of five years. Using scripts to divide the childrens commands typed into categories, we found that girls spend significantly more time than boys communicating with others in the CSCL environment. Analyzing the childrens level of programming achievement, we found that gender does not affect programming performance. Regression analysis shows that performance is correlated with prior programming experience and time on task. Boys are more likely than girls to have prior programming experience, and spend more time programming on average. We contrast these quantitative findings with our qualitative observations, and conclude that quantitative analysis has an important role to play in CSCL research. These results suggest that educators wishing to increase gender equity in technical skill should focus on strategies for fostering interest among girls.


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