Why students drop computing science: using models of motivation to understand student attrition and retention

Barr, M. and Kallia, M. (2022) Why students drop computing science: using models of motivation to understand student attrition and retention. In: Koli Calling '22: 22nd Koli Calling International Conference on Computing Education Research (Koli 22), Koli, Finland, 17-20 November 2022, p. 17. ISBN 9781450396165 (doi: 10.1145/3564721.3564733)

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Computing science (CS) classrooms, whether at school or university level, provide a useful context for examining disparities in participation: particular groups – especially females – remain under-represented. Among the factors that influence retention in CS are those associated with motivation. In this study, we investigate why students drop CS by drawing on two motivation models: the expectancy–value model developed by Eccles, Wigfield, and colleagues, and Marsh’s internal/external frame of reference model. Through a survey of 32 undergraduate students who dropped CS, we identify and discuss the factors that affected their decision to do so. We highlight the interplay between components of both models, revealing how utility value, cost, and students’ internal/external comparisons influenced their decision to drop the subject. We find that comparisons with peers, social concerns, perceived subject difficulty, and issues of attainment associated with self-concept all play a more significant role in female students’ decision to drop CS.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kallia, Dr Maria and Barr, Dr Matthew
Authors: Barr, M., and Kallia, M.
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Published Online:17 November 2022
Copyright Holders:© 2022 Copyright held by the owner/author(s)
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
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