Tag Archive: CERP

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

May InfographicMay Infographic

More CREU Students Attend Graduate School Compared to Other REU Students

This infographic compares post-graduation plans of undergraduate students with different REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) experiences using CERP’s annual spring survey for graduating students. Specifically, CRA-W/CDC Alliance’s Collaborative Research Experiences for Undergraduates (CREU) participants, students who participated in other REUs, and students with no REU experience were compared in terms of whether they were attending graduate school (Master’s or Ph.D.) in the upcoming fall semester. The students included in this analysis are men from racial/ethnic groups who are underrepresented in computing and women because the CREU program is targeted specifically toward these students. Approximately the same number of women and men are in all three groups.


Expanding the Pipeline: The Social Science Side of CERP

The CRA’s Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP) turns four years old this month. During the past four years, CERP has been working steadily toward its goal of building diversity in computing through evaluation and social science research. CERP is staffed by Director Jane Stout, Research Scientist Burcin Tamer, and Research Associate Heather Wright. As seen on CERP’s About page, CERP staff are an eclectic mix of social scientists with expertise in quantitative and qualitative methods and a passion for diversity research.

CERP infographicCERP infographic

Cognitive Disorders are the Most Common Disability Reported by Undergraduate Students in Computing

CERP’s 2016 Data Buddies survey collected data on students’ disability status from 6,447 undergraduate students in computing. Eight percent of these students reported having at least one type of disability. This chart illustrates that the most common disabilities are not visible. These data serve as a reminder that some computing students may be faced with an additional set of challenges in and outside of the classroom due to their disability or disabilities.

March infographicMarch infographic

Participation Rate in Computing-Related Contests Highest Among Men, and Among Asian Students

During the fall 2016 academic semester, CERP collected data from 5,208 undergraduate students currently or previously enrolled in computing courses at a sample of U.S. colleges and universities. Students were asked whether they had participated in any computing-related contests (e.g., hackathons or robotics competitions) during the past year. Some believe this type of activity can help resumes stand out and makes applicants competitive on the job market (e.g., Harnett, 2016; Mone, 2016). We found men were more likely than women, and Asian students were more likely than their peers, to report having participated in computing-related contests. To help promote a level applicant playing field, contest organizers should consider modifying recruitment strategies to target groups who are less likely to participate, such as women.

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.

Thank You Data Buddies!

CRA wishes to thank the computing departments who distributed CERP’s Data Buddies survey during the fall of 2016! The collective effort of these departments provides data for CERP’s research on students’ experiences and successes in computing degree programs.

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.