Gann-Carroll, S. (2023). Building a Computing Identity: The Role of Middle School Computer Science Courses in Igniting Student Interest to Consider a Career in Software Development. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
The purpose of this study was to understand whether students who took computer science courses in a prescribed sequence during middle school developed a strong enough computing identity to show an interest in continuing to take computing courses in high school and possibly pursue a career in software development. This study was quantitative and non-experimental. The participants consisted of 184 sixth through eighth grade students, across 15 middle schools enrolled in one of five computer science courses in a large urban district in the southeast region of the United States. The instrument used to analyze a student’s overall computing identity was a survey form that consisted of 11 statements, of which nine were slightly modified from the model research by Mahadeo et al. (2020). Two questions were added to investigate a student’s aspirations to take more software development in high school and their intention of pursuing a career in software development. All questions were answered on a five-point Likert-type scale. Six research questions were constructed for this study to compare computing identity development regarding courses, pathways, race, Title I status, and interest in coding beyond middle school. This study used descriptive statistics, F-test, and ANOVA to capture a broad understanding of the development of computing identity in middle school students who were taking computer science courses in a sequenced pathway. There were three findings: modification of the statements did not impact the overall structure of the tool, computer science pathways were not implemented with fidelity, and there was a strong likelihood students with a high computing identity would also have a high interest in taking more courses in high school and pursuing a career in software development.