Computing Self-Efficacy in Undergraduate Students: A Multi-Institutional and Intersectional Analysis
This program is tentative and subject to change.
Computing self-efficacy is an important factor in determining students’ motivation, persistence, and performance in computer science (CS) courses. Therefore, investigating computing self-efficacy may help to broaden participation from historically underrepresented groups in computing. Previous research has shown that computing self-efficacy is positively correlated with prior computing experience, but negatively correlated with some demographic identities (e.g. identifying as a woman). However, existing research has not demonstrated these patterns on a large scale while controlling for confounding variables and institutional context. In addition, there is a need to study the experiences of students with multiple marginalized identities through the lens of intersectionality. Our goal is to investigate the relationship between students’ computing self-efficacy and their prior experience in computing, demographic identities, and institutional policies. We answer this research question using a large, recent, and multi-institutional dataset with survey responses from 31,425 students. Our findings confirm that more computing experience positively predicts computing self-efficacy. However, identifying as Asian, Black, Native, Hispanic, non-binary, and/or a woman were statistically significantly associated with lower computing self-efficacy. The results of our work point to several future avenues for self-efficacy research in computing.