Gender parity in intro CS class doesn’t imply gender parity in degree

January 10, 2013 at 8:16 am 1 comment

This article from TechCrunch seems mis-named, “No women in CS? Well, not for long!” The intro course at Stanford now has gender parity, which is terrific. But the article talks about how that isn’t translating into gender parity in the degree. Optimistic thinking is great, but ignoring the data isn’t.

Many students continue from 106A to further develop their skills in CS 106B. But those who want to major in computer science must continue from 106B to the daunting 107, often considered a “weeding” class to separate the wheat from the chaff before students can take upper-level courses.

Women do just as well as men in CS 106A and 106B but continue on to 107 in far fewer numbers. While many students, regardless of gender, drop the class, several students say that stereotypes, misconceptions, and lack of confidence cause women to drop the class in large numbers. The often anti-social, male-dominated culture is characterized by 107’s unofficial mantra of “dump your girlfriend before this class.”

via No Women In CS? Well, Not For Long | TechCrunch.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. rdm  |  January 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I would like more attention paid to “time” and “alternatives” before I attempted to draw any significant conclusions from this disparity between gender rations in 106A and 106B and graduation.

    What kind of social pressures are being placed on female students?

    What was the gender ratio for intro classes like, when the current graduates were taking intro classes?

    How many females taking intro classes are freshman, and how many are just now taking the opportunity during a later part of their time in school?

    Where in the curriculum do the gender disparities show up? Are there particular classes or points in time where the change in gender ration are especially pronounced?

    What degrees are favored by people that take 106A and 106B – are any of these degrees especially shunned based on the gender of the student?

    Since the techcrunch at best hints at these issues, it’s not very illuminating on this situation.


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