Deciding to major in computer science: A grounded theory of students' self-assessment of ability

Colleen M. Lewis, Ken Yasuhara, Ruth E. Anderson

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

Abstract

There is great interest in understanding and influencing students' attraction to computing-related majors. This qualitative study is based on interviews with 31 students enrolled in introductory programming courses at two public universities in the United States. This paper presents a model of five factors that influence student decisions to major in CS and elaborates on our grounded theory analysis of one of these factors: how students assess their CS-related ability. We describe how students measure their ability in terms of speed, grades, and previous experience and how students make interpretations and decisions based upon these measurements. We found that students' interpretations were influenced by experiences in their environments and beliefs about ability as being fixed or malleable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICER'11 - Proceedings of the ACM SIGCSE 2011 International Computing Education Research Workshop
Pages3-10
Number of pages8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event7th International Computing Education Research Workshop, ICER 2011 - Providence, RI, United States
Duration: Aug 8 2011Aug 9 2011

Publication series

NameICER'11 - Proceedings of the ACM SIGCSE 2011 International Computing Education Research Workshop

Conference

Conference7th International Computing Education Research Workshop, ICER 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityProvidence, RI
Period8/8/118/9/11

Keywords

  • ability
  • grounded theory
  • major choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Education

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