As part of the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), my team at Raspberry Pi Foundation are working on an exciting research project to explore ways to enable more girls to benefit from studying Computing. Over the next three academic years we’ll be testing a number of interventions designed to address some of the barriers to studying Computing for girls, working with partners at the Behavioural Insights Team, Apps for Good and Women In Science and Engineering.
The National Centre for Computing Education is a big government funded initiative that we are working on as a consortium with STEM Learning and the British Computer Society. It’s got a huge offer in terms of training and support for teachers and students, and alongside this implementation we’ve been funded to carry out this research with schools across England.
When applying for this funding we explored the literature on girls’ participation in Computing and identified a number of barriers. These included informal activities popular with girls not always being linked to choices for formal learning, teaching approaches not always being well suited to engaging girls and girls not having access to role models and peers who demonstrate success in computing from people like them. For each of these barriers we devised an intervention, drawing where we could on existing evidence and some existing projects.
Each of these interventions will be tested over the next few years, many of them as relatively large (for education) random controlled trials. We’re working with independent evaluators in the Behavioural Insights Team to evaluate whether the interventions make a difference to girls’ attitudes towards and engagement with Computing and, where appropriate, their take up of GCSE Computing courses.
Across the interventions we’ve got projects from age 6-15, key stages 1 to 3, and we want to work with schools across the country and in all sorts of contexts. We just launched this week our big recruitment campaign to sign up schools who want to work with us to explore this important area.
If you work in a school and might be interested in taking part, or you want to find out about the interventions we’ve developed in more detail, head over to the NCCE blog: