Teacher and Student Experiences in a Gender-Inclusive Secondary Computer Science Program



  • Michael Karlin California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • Anne Ottenbreit-Leftwich Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Yin-Chan Janet Liao Georgia State University


K-12; Computer Science Education; Broadening Participation; Gender


A significant gender gap continues to exist within computer science (CS) education, despite a nationwide emphasis in the U.S. on increasing CS education equity and access.  To explore this issue, we conducted an ethnographic case study within a classroom at Forest View High School (FVHS, pseudonym) where girls’ participation in CS was consistently higher than state averages over 12 years. We sought to understand teacher and student experiences within this gender-inclusive program. Data were collected over three months through observations, interviews, course documents, and reflections. Results indicate three strategies for supporting a more gender-inclusive classroom: (1) Providing personalized and relevant learning experiences; (2) modeling a growth mindset; and (3) creating a welcoming environment. Implications for practice include providing assignment choice, providing opportunities to learn from failure, and building personal relationships with students. Overall, teachers can act as agents of social change within the CS classroom, and play an essential, central role in broadening participation and equity initiatives. However, this work must also be supported by administrators, counselors, and other school stakeholders to be effective for enacting change.


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2024-05-27 — Updated on 2024-05-27

How to Cite

Michael Karlin, Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A., & Liao, Y.-C. J. (2024). Teacher and Student Experiences in a Gender-Inclusive Secondary Computer Science Program. International Journal of Computer Science Education in Schools, 6(3), 47–66. https://doi.org/10.21585/ijcses.v6i3.191