In-school and/or out-of-school computer science learning influence on CS career interests, mediated by having role-models
Computer science (CS) is special among STEM subjects: it aims at an industry sector that has the most job growth but has a constant shortage in the workforce; it is a relatively young and burgeoning subject in K-12 education that has a shortage of classroom teachers; and it is one of a very few STEM subjects that large number of students can master by learning it completely out-of-school. To inspire the future generation to pursue the unfilled high-paying jobs in computing, and to fulfill a nation’s interest in innovation and technology, various groups of stakeholders called for both the expansion of in-school offering of CS courses and the investment in out-of-school CS experience opportunities. There is an unsettled debate, however, about the impact of in-school and out-of-school experience, and the comparison between the two. Most research that engaged in this discussion was limited by sample sizes or sampling biases. In this study, we sampled a national representative sample of 4,107 grade 5-12 students in the U.S. to investigate the effect of in-school, out-of-school or both two CS learning experiences on students’ CS career interests. Adopting an expectancy-value theory (EVT) framework, we are particularly interested in how role-model mediates this dynamic and if this dynamic is different for different gender or race/ethnicity.