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Gender and Computer Science


Why are more minorities not pursuing undergraduate and advanced degrees in computer science?

A new book examines that question and finds that the answer can be traced to a number of factors in K-12 systems, including high school course offerings, access to counseling, the influence of teachers, and students' beliefs about their own abilities.

"Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing" by UCLA Senior Researcher Jane Margolis, was published by the MIT Press last month. The book focuses in part on the experiences of students and teachers in three public high schools in Los Angeles, including an overcrowded urban high school, a math and science magnet school, and a well-funded school in an affluent neighborhood.

The book says that the number of African-American and Latino students receiving computer- science degrees is "disproportionately low." The proportion of students in those groups receiving science and engineering degrees has risen over the past two decades, according to federal estimates I looked this up (in the report "Science and Engineering Indicators, 2008," published by the National Science Board) though it appears those students' overall numbers as a percentage of the population remains small.



You are my favorite EdWeek writer. Your facts are accurate, however they combined STEM fields in their numbers. Women and minorities represent a much lower percentage of the computing disciplines. I recommend you look at the information provided by NCWIT (National Center for Women in Technology) especially their 2007 scorecard (http://www.ncwit.org/pdf/2007_Scorecard_Web.pdf)

In 2005-2006 women earned only 15% of the bachelors degrees awarded in computer science were to women.

Leigh Ann,

I believe you're right. That's a good resource, and I will keep it in mind. I meant to make a point similiar to yours in my posting, though it didn't come out that way.


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