Promoting Intentions to Persist in Computing: An Examination of Six Years of the EarSketch Program
Wanzer, Dana Linnell
McKlin, Thomas (Tom) McKlin
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Background and Context: EarSketch was developed as a program to foster persistence in computer science with diverse student populations. Objective: To test the effectiveness of EarSketch in promoting intentions to persist, particularly among female students and under-represented minority students. Method: Meta-analyses, structural equation modeling, multi-level modeling, and qualitative analyses were performed to examine how participation in EarSketch and other factors affect students’ intentions to persist in computing. Findings: Students significantly increased their intentions to persist in computing, g=.40[.25,54], but examination within just the five quasi-experimental studies did not result in a significant difference for students in EarSketch compared to students not in EarSketch, g=.08[-.07, .23]. Student attitudes towards computing and the perceived authenticity of the EarSketch environment significantly predicted intentions to persist in computing. Implications: Participation in computer science education can increase students’ intentions to persist in programming, and EarSketch is one such program that can aid in these intentions.