Posts tagged ‘women in computing’
Every year, Barbara Ericson does an analysis of the AP CS exam demographics by state. The 2013 analysis (see here) got a lot of media attention (see on-going list). Here’s the run-down for 2014. Her detailed national analysis (from which I quote in this document) can be found here, and her detailed race and gender analysis (which I include some) can be found here.
Nationally, 37,327 students took the AP CS A exam in 2014. This was a big increase (26.29%) from the 29,555 students who took it in 2013.
- The number of schools who passed the audit (which is a reasonable proxy for the number of AP CS teachers) went up by almost 300: 2,525 versus 2,252 the previous year.
- The number of female exam-takers was 7,458 (20%) which was up from 5,485 the year before (18.5%).
- The number of black students was 1,469 which was an increase from 1,090 the previous year. The number of Hispanic students was 3,270 up from 2,408 the previous year.
The top 10 states in terms of the number of exams taken were in 2014 were (with their 2014 and 2013 positions listed — Florida rose and Maryland dropped):
But California is also the largest state. If we control for population, here are the top 10 states by # exams in 2014 / estimated 2012 population / 100,000:
Eight states had a decrease in the number of students taking the AP CS A exam from the previous year: Oregon, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Kansas, Montana, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Maine.
Eighteen states had less than 100 people take the AP CS A exam in 2014, with Wyoming still the only state with no students taking the exam.
Barbara had help from Phil Sands from Purdue this year in doing the demographic analysis.
Females: The top three states with the most women taking the exam in 2014 are:
- California with 1599 exams (24%) and a pass rate of 65%
- Texas with 1102 exams (24%) and a pass rate of 51%
- New York with 504 exams (18.4%) and a pass rate of 56%
The top three states with the highest percentage of females taking the exam are (number of women / number of exams)
Mississippi (1/4 = 25%), Washington (260/1048 = 25%), Oklahoma (42/171 = 25%).
Tennessee, which had 31% female exam-takers in 2012, is no longer in the top ten of states.
No females took the exam in Montana (0 women of 4 exam takers) or Wyoming (but nobody took the exam in Wyoming). Eight more states had at least one woman but less than 10 women take the exam:Mississippi (1/4), North Dakota (1/14), Nebraska (2/71), Kansas (3/40), Alaska (4/30), South Dakota (4/29) and Utah (5/104) and Delaware (7/79).
African American: The top three states that had the most African American students take the exam in 2014 are:
- Maryland with 192 exams and a pass rate of 30.2% for African Americans compared to the overall pass rate of 62.1%.
- Texas with 161 exams and a pass rate of 40% compared to the overall pass rate of 55.7%.
- Georgia with 155 exams and a pass rate of 23% compared to the overall pass rate of 45.8%.
Thirteen states had no African American exam-takers in 2014 (number of African Americans / number of exams)
Alaska (0/30), Idaho (0/58), Kansas (0/40), Maine (0/99), Mississippi (0/4), Montana (0/4), Nebraska (0/71), New Hampshire (0/108), New Mexico (0/61), North Dakota (0/14), South Dakota (0/29), Vermont (0/71), and Wyoming (0/0).
Hispanic: The top three states that had the most Hispanics take the exam in 2014 (the College Board separates this into Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and Other Hispanic)
- Texas with 968 and a pass rate of 32% compared to the overall pass rate of 55.7%.
- California with 610 and a pass rate of 45.2% compared to the overall pass rate of 67.3%.
- Florida with 450 and a pass rate of 39.1% compared to the overall pass rate of 42.5%.
Seven states had no Hispanics take the exam in 2014: Iowa (0/119) which is 5.5% Hispanic by population, Mississippi (0/4) which is 2.9% Hispanic, Montana (0/4), North Dakota (0/14), South Dakota (0/29), West Virginia (0/48), and Wyoming (0/0).
A nice list with interesting history — I didn’t know most of these (Thanks to Guy Haas who sent it to me):
Although “Amazing Grace” Hopper is sometimes mentioned, Lovelace often serves as a token when talking about women in technology. However, her isolation in the midst of the male-dominated history of computer science does not reflect reality: There have been many, many other women who have made their careers in computer science, but whose stories have been erased and forgotten, many of their successes snubbed due to sexism. In fact, says Kathy Kleiman, founder of the ENIAC Programmers Project, “Programming was a pink-collar profession for about the first decade. There were some men, but it was actually hugely women.”
Lest we forget these female pioneers, here are ten that should be remembered alongside their male counterparts.
An argument for diversity is that it leads to better team decisions and designs. But it turns out that having women on the team at all leads to better group performance. It’s an important finding to argue why we need more women in CS, which is still a question I hear regularly, “So what if almost all our undergraduates are women?” Or as one blogger recently put it (see here if you really want to read more of this), “No one in the tech sector right now gives a shit about diversity. There is no reason whatsoever why a lack of diversity in the field would be a problem unless it comes from government quotas and legal threats.”
Instead, the smartest teams were distinguished by three characteristics.
First, their members contributed more equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group.
Second, their members scored higher on a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes, which measures how well people can read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible.
Finally, teams with more women outperformed teams with more men. Indeed, it appeared that it was not “diversity” (having equal numbers of men and women) that mattered for a team’s intelligence, but simply having more women. This last effect, however, was partly explained by the fact that women, on average, were better at “mindreading” than men.
I’ve argued before that there is no reason to believe in the Geek Gene (see post here), and every reason to believe that good teaching can overcome “innate” differences (see post here). Now, a study in Science suggests that that belief in “innate gift or talent” can explain why some fields have more diversity and others do not.
Sparked by sharing anecdotes about their personal experiences in fields with very different gender ratios, a team of authors, led by Andrei Cimpian, a psychologist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and philosopher Sarah-Jane Leslie of Princeton University, surveyed graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty members at nine major U.S. research institutions. Participants rated the importance of having “an innate gift or talent” or “a special aptitude that just can’t be taught” to succeed in their field versus the value of “motivation and sustained effort.” The study, published online today in Science, looked across 30 disciplines in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, the social sciences, and the humanities.
The authors found that fields in which inborn ability is prized over hard work produced relatively fewer female Ph.D.s. This trend, based on 2011 data from the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates, also helps explain why gender ratios don’t follow the simplified STEM/non-STEM divide in some fields, including philosophy and biology, they conclude.
I wrote my Blog@CACM post for January on the rising enrollment in computer science and how that is making irrelevant our advances in retaining students (see article here). Retention is simply not the problem in US CS programs today.
But thinking about the 1980’s and today (as described in this blog post), I began wondering if our boom-and-bust cycles might be related to our inability to manage the boom.
- First, we get a huge increase in enrollment due to some external factor (like the introduction of the personal computer).
- Then, we have to manage the rise in enrollment. We try to hire faculty, but we can’t bring them in fast enough. We stop worrying about high-quality, high-retention education — we need the opposite! We set up barriers and GPA requirements.
- Word gets out: CS is hard. The classes are too difficult. It’s too competitive. Minority group students suffer from the imposter phenomenon and leave faster than majority students.
- Result: Enrollment drops. Diversity decreases.
- Then the next external factor happens (like the invention of the graphical Web browser), and we start the sequence again.
If we could give everyone a seat who wanted one, and we continued to focus on retention and high-quality education, might we actually have a steady-state of a large CS class? Could our inability to manage the load actually be causing the bust side of the cycle?
GenderIT 2015 Advancing Diversity
Join us April 24-25 at the University of Pennsylvania!
In IT and technology-related fields at large, diversity has been a longstanding and troubling issue. Particularly, girls, women and minorities continue to be underrepresented in these fields; few engage in STEM-related classes or enter IT professions. What can we do to address these challenges? What do we know about interests, images, and intersections around gender, race, and IT? How can we design K-12 education and craft career trajectories so that more girls and minorities express interest and participate in IT? What are some promising and innovative designs and interventions? How are trends in related fields, such as gaming, connected to larger IT developments? In GenderIT 2015, we will set out to examine and discuss these issues and more around three focal areas:
– Promoting computer science education in K-12
– Understanding developments around gender and gaming
– Developing new interventions and applications for STEM
Call for Papers and Posters
We invite researchers, designers, and practitioners to participate in the conference through contributions from your own work. Relevant topics include:
+ gender specific aspects of IT appropriation and use
+ the role of the new media for learning
+ gender awareness in computer science curricula and IT trainings
+ the relation of gender and IT in education, training, and work
+ the significance of gender for career choices and qualification paths in the IT domain
We welcome submissions following ACM format in the form of long papers (8 pages), short papers (4 pages) or posters (2 pages).
▪ Submissions: February 20, 2015
▪ Notifications: March 5, 2015
▪ Camera-Ready: March 20, 2015
▪ Paper (long and short): A long paper should consist of no more than 8 pages; a short paper should be no more than 4 pages. This is including figures, references and appendices, and an abstract of no more than 150 words. Longer submissions will automatically be rejected. The submission must be original; it cannot be published or be in a review process elsewhere. Long and short papers will be published in the ACM Digital Library.
▪ Poster: Posters are for new work, preliminary findings, designs or educational projects. They are accompanied by a two-page abstract. This text should articulate out the aspect of the work that is apt to lead to productive discussion with conference participants in the poster session. Posters will be published in the in the ACM Digital Library.
All submissions must adhere to the formatting guidelines in the ACM proceedings template. All submissions will be blind-reviewed. Please prepare your submission accordingly.
Please submit your papers for GIT 2015 here. The paper submission system is supported by Easy Chair and requires the creation of an “author” account for all submissions.
I met Elena Glassman at the ICER Doctoral Consortium in 2013. Her article below on her “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit is an interesting commentary on gender bias in computing.
As it turned out, people were extremely interested in our AMA, though some not for the reasons we expected. Within an hour, the thread had rocketed to the Reddit front page, with hundreds of thousands of pageviews and more than 4,700 comments. But to our surprise, the most common questions were about why our gender was relevant at all. Some people wondered why we did not simply present ourselves as “computer scientists.” Others questioned if calling attention to gender perpetuated sexism. Yet others felt that we were taking advantage of the fact that we were women to get more attention for our AMA.
The interactions in the AMA itself showed that gender does still matter. Many of the comments and questions illustrated how women are often treated in male-dominated STEM fields. Commenters interacted with us in a way they would not have interacted with men, asking us about our bra sizes, how often we “copy male classmates’ answers,” and even demanding we show our contributions “or GTFO [Get The **** Out]”. One redditor helpfully called out the double standard, saying, “Don’t worry guys – when the male dog groomer did his AMA (where he specifically identified as male), there were also dozens of comments asking why his sex mattered. Oh no, wait, there weren’t.”