CS Majors are least likely to finish degree among Science majors

July 31, 2009 at 6:51 pm 2 comments

Of the STEM fields, computer or information sciences had the lowest rate at 46.4 percent.”  Maybe lots of CS faculty agree with the commentor to the last blog post, that it’s better to flunk out CS students than let them graduate and suffer the pains of being a computing professional.

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All significant education questions are economic New LAUSD high school CS course curriculum

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alfred Thompson  |  July 31, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Ive been a computing professional for over 30 years now and while there have been pains along the way there have been great joys as well. I think this is true in any line of work. In all though computing opens so many doors to so many fields that I think the good far outweighs the bad. Let’s give people the oppertunity to see if it is for them. It’s not like people are locked into one career for their life after university. Even if people move away from computing as their main line of work I believe they will find that knowledge and skills (problem solving alone) will translate into other areas.

  • 2. Mark Miller  |  August 1, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    The article is written in a confusing fashion. Based on what I see in your quote, it may have been updated since you read it. I can’t find the quote in the article. I guess the author was trying to cram a lot into a small space.

    The article made a distinction between science and engineering majors. It said that of those who majored in a science, those who majored in CS at some point in their undergraduate education were least likely to complete a bachelor’s degree.

    The article went on to say, though:

    “Fifty-three percent of engineering students earned a credential, but they were least likely among their STEM peers to earn a bachelor’s degree (as opposed to an associate degree or certificate).”

    So if you lump science and engineering together, engineering majors were even less likely than CS majors to complete a degree.

    I wouldn’t take these stats as a black mark against the CS academic profession. The key indicator the author was going for was “STEM vs. non-STEM”, that students who majored in a STEM field at some point while at university were more likely to finish a bachelor’s degree, regardless of whether they stayed with their STEM major or not. Whereas those students who never majored in a STEM field were slightly less likely to do so. That was the main point.

    The article broke it down a little more by STEM major, but again characterized it as earning a generalized bachelor’s degree, and not necessarily in a STEM field. So the way I’d read the individual STEM stats is “Among those who majored in a STEM field, students who majored in CS at some point in their undergraduate education (regardless of whether they stayed in CS) were second-to-least likely to complete a generic bachelor’s degree.” It was a commentary on student behavior, and using what major they picked as an indicator of how successful they were in completing their undergraduate education, whatever it ended up being. I didn’t read it so much as commentary on the quality of the curriculum they chose.

    One commenter made a good point, saying that the survey lumps in those who are “undeclared” in with “non-STEM majors”, which drags down the non-STEM stats.


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