Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wilkins, Elizabeth A.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Curriculum and Instruction (CI)


This dissertation examines the practices employed by AP Computer Science A teachers that can help recruit and retain female students in computer science. A survey was sent to teachers to see what practices they used in their classrooms and what practices they thought had the biggest influence on female student recruitment and retention. Of the five practice categories (recruitment, pedagogical, curricular, extracurricular, and mentoring), the survey respondents thought recruitment was the most influential and curricular was the least influential. After the survey, 12 teachers were chosen for interviews because they had a higher enrollment of female students than the rest of the survey respondents. These teachers believed that pedagogical practices were the most influential. They specifically mentioned using pair programming in the classroom as a means of building a positive classroom culture and helping all students through difficult programming problems.

This research showed that recruiting and pedagogical practices were essential tools for teachers to increase the gender diversity of their AP Computer Science A classrooms. Future research can see if these practices apply to other STEM fields, if a real-world creative curriculum can increase female recruitment and retention and if an introductory female-only computer science course could influence enrollment.


165 pages




Northern Illinois University

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