Saturday, November 21, 2015

U.S. Girls Less Confident They Can Learn Computer Science

American girls in seventh through 12th grades express less confidence than boys do in their ability to learn computer science, according to a recent study by Gallup and Google, Images of Computer Science: Perceptions among Students, Parents and Educators in the U.S.

Less than half of female students (46%) say they are "very confident" they could learn computer science, compared with 62% of male students.

These findings are from a 2014 study by Gallup and Google with random, nationally representative samples of seventh- to 12th-grade students in the U.S., parents of seventh- to 12th-grade students and teachers of students in first through 12th grades.

Female students are also less likely than male students to believe they will learn and do computer science in the future. Male students are nearly twice as likely as girls to say they are "very likely" to learn computer science in the future. Although one in three female students believe they will have a job someday in which they will need to know some computer science, this percentage still trails the 42% of boys who say the same.

Students, parents and teachers in the U.S. are all more likely to view computer science as a male field than a female field. This belief is illustrated in the perceptions among students, parents and teachers that girls are less interested in the field and are less likely than boys to be successful in learning computer science, and girls' own lack of confidence, relative to boys, in their ability to learn computer science. Further, nearly one in three students and parents rarely see female role models in the media to counteract these perceptions.

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