Gender and Programming Achievement in a CSCL Environment

In this study, we analyzed 3.4 Gb of log file data from the participation of 475 children in a CSCL environment over a period of five years. Using scripts to divide the children's commands typed into categories, we found that girls spend significantly more time than boys communicating with others in the CSCL environment. Analyzing the children's level of programming achievement, we found that gender does not affect programming performance. Regression analysis shows that performance is correlated with prior programming experience and time on task. Boys are more likely than girls to have prior programming experience, and spend more time programming on average. We contrast these quantitative findings with our qualitative observations, and conclude that quantitative analysis has an important role to play in CSCL research. These results suggest that educators wishing to increase gender equity in technical skill should focus on strategies for fostering interest among girls.


Amy Bruckman , Carlos Jensen , Austina DeBonte


Bruckman, Amy; Carlos Jensen, and Austina DeBonte (2002). "Gender and Programming Achievement in a CSCL Environment." Long talk, Proceedings of CSCL 2002, Boulder, CO, January 2002.