Maturity Rather than Gender is Important for Study Success

Maturity Rather than Gender is Important for Study Success

Theresa McLennan (Lincoln University, New Zealand)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 5
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-815-4.ch139
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Abstract

For a number of years there has been concern, particularly in the western world, about the low female participation and retention rates in computer science (Bernstein, 1994; Clarke & Chambers, 1989; Clarke & Teague, 1994; Durndell, 1991; Sturm & Moroh, 1994). Studies in New Zealand found similar trends (Brown, Andreae, Biddle, & Tempero, 1996; Ryba & Selby, 1995; Toynbee, 1993). More than ten years after these concerns were first raised, these problems largely still exist (Weston & Barker, 2004) although successful strategies are being reported (Cohoon, 2002; Fisher & Margolis, 2002; and other authors in Women and Computing). To some extent at Lincoln University, New Zealand, the situation has always been different. Computing classes at all levels usually have a reasonable proportion of women (typically 25-40%). Furthermore, success in the first year programming class has been modeled for five cohorts and has been found to have no direct relationship to gender. The most consistent finding in these models is that older students are more likely to be successful than younger students. As well as summarizing the longitudinal study, key findings of interviews with some recent mature aged, female computing graduates are also included.

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