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“Cowboy” and “Cowgirl” Programming and Success in College Computer Science
This study examines the relationship between students' pre-college experience with computers and their success in introductory computer science classes in college. Data were drawn from a nationally representative sample of 10,203 students enrolled in computer science at 121 colleges and universities. We found that students taking college computer who had programmed on their own before college had a more positive attitude towards computer science, lower odds of dropping out, and earned higher grades, compared to students who learned to program in class but never programmed on own or those who had never learned programming before college. Moreover, nearly half of the final grade effect was mediated by the positive attitude.
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