Thursday, October 29, 2009

More Surveys, Enrollment Data, and Next Steps

These past few weeks have been mostly filled with trying to convince people to fill out our survey. I've been inputting a lot of data into spread sheets. We're not doing any analysis until we've collected all of the data, but here are just the numbers in terms of surveys collected so far. (I do not have Anthony's data included in this.)

Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior (5th or 5th double)

Gender Totals 88 31 14 0 47 7 19 2 1 1 210
Totals 119 14 54 21 2 210

Looks like we did pretty well administering surveys to the freshmen. I could not find the statistics on freshmen in SCS for 2009, but past data seems to indicate a fairly stable number of students enrolled in the program. It is my guess, though I will of course confirm this when I can get the real data, that we have completed surveys from 80-90% of the freshmen in SCS.

We haven't collected very much data from sophomores due to professors for many of the sophomore classes being unresponsive to e-mails requesting to administer the survey in their classes. I am planning on coordinating with Anthony to wait outside sophomore level classes to see if we can increase the number of completed surveys.

We are doing pretty well collecting data from juniors, and I know that Anthony had some schemes to specifically target seniors, so I am sure that we will be approaching about 50% participation rate of juniors and seniors for the survey. Unfortunately, we do not have that many women responding to our survey, however, I plan on asking women in W@SCS to fill out the survey, so hopefully we will have a more representative distribution.

In looking at enrollment data, trying to figure out the stats on SCS entering freshmen, I came across enrollment data for 2008. Here is a copy of the data with some statistics that I calculate from the data highlighted. When compared against other colleges within CMU, SCS has the highest percentage of male applicants, the highest percentage of offers of admissions to male applicants, and the highest percentage of male enrollment.

In addition, one would expect that once students have been admitted, a certain percentage will enroll. While this percentage may vary across schools as some schools and majors within CMU are more exclusive / have better reputations than other, we would not expect this percentage to vary drastically WITHIN a school across gender. For example, in H&SS (School of Humanities and Social Sciences), 22.70% of males who apply decide to enroll and 22.22% of females who apply decide to enroll. These percentages are very similar. This is pretty much true for most schools at CMU. The percentages - with the exception of SCS - differ by no more than 6%. When we look at SCS however, 36.00% of males versus 24.60% of females who were admitted, enroll.

This raises the question of why, if women are getting into SCS, are they not enrolling? Clearly the arguments of "women not being capable of succeeding in CS as it is" or "the need for 'pink' curriculum" cannot be called upon. Admissions is not based on gender, but merit - and the admissions committee felt that these women could succeed in SCS at CMU without changing the curriculum to be more "female-friendly" or "pink." And if it is not ability based or some intrinsic difference between men and women, it must be a cultural thing.

I think that the next research step that I would like to take is to develop interview / focus group questions aimed at a particular group. Anthony is focusing more on women and CS on an international level, while I focusing largely at CMU. One of the groups that I would like to target for interviews or focus groups is students who left SCS to major in something else. I don't know about the stats on men, but in my year, at least 4 women have decided to switch majors from SCS to something else (which is a significant percentage). It would be interesting to see why they switched, what major they switched to, why they thought they wanted to do CS, if they had any role models in the field of computing, etc. I would definitely be interested in seeing if men and women had the same responses for those types of questions and to see specifically what the stats were on numbers of women vs. numbers of men who switch out.

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