Google Research

Social Perceptions in Computer Science and Implications for Diverse Students

ICER, ACM (2017)


The barriers to diversity in computer science (CS) are complex, consisting of both structural and social barriers. In this paper, we focus on social perceptions for students in grades 7-12 in the U.S. Through surveys of nationally representative samples of 1,672 students, 1,677 parents, 1,008 teachers, 9,805 principals, and 2,307 superintendents, we built on qualitative work by Lewis, Anderson, and Yasuhara [1,2] to understand social beliefs around students’ fit and ability as well the external context, as related to students’ interest. We contribute a holistic perspective of pre-university students, confirming much research on gender differences in social perceptions in CS while identifying new findings for race/ethnicity, specifically Black and Hispanic students. As K-12 CS expands, these findings can inform differentiation strategies in equitably engaging K-12 students.

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