Tag Archive: CERP

Articles relevant to the CRA Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP).

Feburary InfographicFeburary Infographic

Nearly 10 Years Later, CRA-W Career Mentoring Workshop Participants are More Advanced in their Careers Than Non-Participants

CERP recently extracted Web data to observe the career progression of women who had participated in the CRA-W’s 2008 or 2009 Career Mentoring Workshops (CMWs) compared to a sample of women who had never participated in CMWs. We obtained the comparison sample from a population of women who earned their Ph.D.s in computer science during the same time period as the participants. We collected current career information including job titles (e.g., associate professor) and job setting (e.g., academia vs. industry/labs) for both groups. We then categorized job titles as entry level (e.g., assistant professor, software engineer), mid level (e.g., associate professor, senior engineer), and senior level (e.g., professor, principal program manager), collapsed across job setting. To test for a systematic difference in job rankings between workshop participants and the comparison group, we ran a 2 (Group) x 3 (Job Title Rank) Chi-squared test and found a statistically significant difference in rankings across the two groups, χ2 (2, N = 181) = 8.46, p < 0.05. Specifically, CMW participants were less likely than non-participants to be in an entry level position, p < .05, and more likely to be in a senior level position than non-participants, p < .05.

Why students leave computingWhy students leave computing

Difficulties with Coursework Make Students Consider Leaving Computing; Job Prospects and Support from Friends and Family Help Students Stay

In CERP’s 2015 Data Buddies survey, computing majors were asked whether they had thought about changing to a non-computing major during the past year. Thirteen percent of students who responded to this question said that they had. The word clouds here were created using students’ comments about the reasons they considered leaving computing and factors that helped them stay. Some of the most frequently encountered words in students’ reasons for considering leaving computing were “classes”, “hard”, “difficult”, “work”, and “time”. On the other hand, students’ responses regarding the factors that helped them stay in computing contained words such as “job”, “degree”, and “friends”.


After Leaving Computing, New Majors Tend to Differ by Gender

As computing departments across the U.S. wrestle with increased enrollment, it is important to recognize that not everyone who becomes a computing major stays a computing major. In 2014, CERP collected data from a cohort of U.S. undergraduate students who agreed to be contacted for follow-up surveys in 2015. While most of the students surveyed remained computing majors (96%), some students changed to a non-computing major. As shown in the graphic above, students in our sample moved to a variety of majors, and the type of new major tended to differ by gender. Most men (69%) who left a computing major switched to engineering, math/statistics, or physical science majors. On the other hand, most women (53%) tended to move to social sciences, or humanities/arts. These data are consistent with existing social science research indicating women tend to choose fields that have clear social applications, such as the social sciences, arts, and humanities. CERP’s future analyses will explore why women, versus men, say they are leaving computing for other fields.

Note this summary of longitudinal survey data is suggestive and is intended to spur further empirical investigation. Given our sample size, we did not run inferential statistics and do not claim the gender differences are significantly different. As such, the findings reported here should be interpreted with caution.

October InfographicOctober Infographic

Undergraduate Computing Majors Talk about Institutional Support at Their College or University for Becoming a Middle or High School Teacher

CERP asked 3,616 undergraduate computing majors about their perceptions of institutional support for becoming a middle or high school computing teacher. As seen here, very few students in this sample have been exposed to this career path in their department, and more than one-third of students perceive the career path as viewed negatively in their department. Furthermore, few students knew where to seek advice for this career path at their institution. These data suggest colleges and universities in general, and computing departments specifically, could improve the amount of emphasis placed on teaching middle or high school computing. In turn, this might result in increased interest by computing majors in becoming middle or high school computing teachers. Given recent efforts to promote widespread K-12 computing education, enhancing support for students who might be interested in becoming middle or high school computing teachers is important.

CERP InfographicCERP Infographic

Graduate Students Without Versus With a Mentor Report Lower Self-Efficacy

While almost all computing graduate students have advisors, recent CERP data indicate many of those students do not have a mentor. Specifically, 17% of a sample of graduate students enrolled in computing programs (sample N = 2,617) indicated they did not “have a mentor with whom [they] have an ongoing relationship, and who provides [them] advice and assistance in advancing in [their] career.” The graphic above presents evidence toward a potential implication of not having a trusted mentor as a graduate student: relatively low self-efficacy. Self-efficacy refers to beliefs about one’s ability to plan for and execute steps necessary for future success. Indeed, the current analysis indicates students without a mentor report lower self-efficacy in their computing career track than students with a mentor, p ≤ .001.

CERP Infographic_CERP Infographic_

Ph.D. Students’ Interest in Computing Career Options

In 2015, CERP asked 1,335 students enrolled in Ph.D. programs to report their interest in a variety of computing professions. The distribution of students’ year in their program was as follows: 22% first year, 21% second year, 13% third year, 12% fourth year, 10% fifth year, 10% sixth year or greater, and 12% unspecified. As seen in the graphic above, students were most interested in pursuing a computing research job in industry, followed by tenure track computing faculty at a research university, computing researcher in a government lab, and entrepreneurial work in computing. Students were least interested in becoming a middle or high school computing teacher.

Asian Versus White Student SUpportAsian Versus White Student SUpport

A Comparison of East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and White Undergraduate Student Familial Support

Education research focusing on diversity in computing in the United States often considers Asian/Asian American students and White students to be “advantaged” demographic groups. However, Data Buddies survey data collected during the fall of 2015 indicate Asian/Asian American versus White students’ experiences pursuing computing degrees may differ. For instance, CERP examined undergraduate students’ family support for pursuing a computing degree. Whereas South Asian students’ level of family support was statistically equivalent to that of White students, East Asian and Southeast Asian students’ family support was significantly lower than that of their White peers, p ≤ .05. These findings suggest Asian/Asian American and White students may overlap in some experiences in computing, but this overlap may depend on students’ cultural identities within their Asian/Asian American identities.

CERP May 2016CERP May 2016

Education Funding for First-Generation Versus Continuing-Generation Undergraduate Students

In CERP’s annual survey of undergraduate students in computing fields, students were asked to identify the resources they are using to fund their education. They could select multiple resources. This graphic shows the distribution of responses for first-generation versus continuing-generation college students. The percentages are the number of students who selected a particular funding source out of the number of students within each group (total first-generation students = 1,076; continuing-generation students = 7,157). While first-generation students’ most frequent source of education funding comes from federal loans, continuing-generation students rely most frequently on financial support from their parents. The data also show that first-generation and continuing-generation students take out private loans, make use of their personal savings, receive scholarships and/or grants, work part- or full-time, and are supported by their spouse or partner at similar rates.

April 2016April 2016

Factors that Increase Students’ Interest in Becoming a Middle or High School Computing Teacher

CERP asked undergraduate computing majors what would increase their interest in becoming a middle or high school computing teacher. This infographic shows that financial incentive in the form of a higher teaching salary, free tuition for teacher training, and forgiven student loans were the top factors increasing students’ interest in becoming a middle or high school computing teacher. These findings provide insights into how to generate more computing educators for the K-12 school system, which is becoming increasingly important, given recent efforts to promote widespread K-12 computing education.