The emerging role of self-perception in student intentions

Jennifer Dempsey, Richard T. Snodgrass, Isabel Kishi, Allison Titcomb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

24 Scopus citations


Recruitment and retention of women has been a persistent problem in the field of computer science. With a growing number of jobs that require a computer science degree, this problem does not only affect computer science departments with low enrollment, but also impacts industry. There is still no universally accepted explanation for the underrepresentation of women in the computing field. Various solutions have been implemented in an attempt to resolve this problem and yet gender imbalance in fields related to computer science persists. In this paper we study how perceptions held by students inuence their intention to pursue computer science. Through a descriptive study, using a survey given out to first semester students in a computer science class, we measure perceptions, attitudes, self-efficacy, and identity, then we study the correlations between them and students' intentions to further pursue computer science. Our goal is to understand how determinative these constructs are to having students continue in the major. Interestingly, self-perception, in terms of self-efficacy (does the student feel they are able to use computer science techniques to solve a problem) and identity (does the student see themselves as a computer scientist), emerged as the primary driver for differences in intention. Many other aspects turned out not to exhibit statistically significant gender differences. Understanding at a detailed level what factors inuence students to pursue computer science is critical in devising effective interventions that may increase participation in computer science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSIGCSE 2015 - Proceedings of the 46th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
EditorsAdrienne Decker, Kurt Eiselt, Jodi Tims, Carl Alphonce
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450329668
StatePublished - Feb 24 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event46th SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2015 - Kansas City, United States
Duration: Mar 4 2015Mar 7 2015

Publication series

NameSIGCSE 2015 - Proceedings of the 46th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education


Other46th SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityKansas City


  • Gender differences
  • Perceptions
  • Student intentions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)


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