SCARI Computing Project Overview

Background:

Knowledge and use of computer science/computing can open doors for young people in terms of jobs and future opportunity. However, research into computing education has shown that girls are poorly represented in computer science qualifications, such as the recently introduced Computer Science GCSE (Kemp, Wong & Berry, 2019).The SCARI Computing project aims to explore the factors that explain the participation and performance of girls in English secondary school computing with a particular focus on Computer Science (CS) exams. The study will use the National Pupil Dataset and School Workforce Census, alongside school case studies through quantitative and qualitative data collected from school managers, students and documents such as schemes of work. This study is important because it will impact policies and educational interventions to reduce the participation and attainment gaps between students in computing education. This project is lead by Dr Peter Kemp (King's College London), in collaboration with Dr Billy Wong (University of Reading) and team members Dr Jessica Hamer and Meggie Copsey-Blake. The project is funded by the Nuffield Foundation and you can view the project on Nuffield's website here and the King's College London website here.

Aims:

The overarching aim of this project is to provide evidence to inform policies and practices that can address the underperformance and uptake of girls in secondary school level computing in England. The project will enable us to generate important new data and understandings into the current unequal patterns of attainment and participation in GCSE Computer Science (CS) and general computing provision in secondary schools.

The research questions are:RQ1: What are the main predictors of female attainment in GCSE Computer Science?RQ2: What are the factors that explain schools with high female participation in GCSE Computer Science?RQ3: How do students’ attitudes and attainment in school level computing influence uptake and performance of the subject at later exam levels?