Challenges facing Student Recruitment by sdfwerte

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									Computing Science:
What do pupils think?
         Alison Mitchell
  University of Strathclyde
  a.mitchell@strath.ac.uk
                With students
              David Barr
            Stewart Melvin
                  &
   thanks to Chris Mitchell & Helen Purchase
             University of Glasgow


      A project sponsored by LTSN-ICS
           August to October 2004
        Computing Science:
        What do pupils think?

What do you think they think about it?

Write down 3 things.




                  Alison Mitchell
               To begin:

 The numbers in HE are decreasing
                  But:
  Teachers and pupils were surprised
               because
Computing numbers in school are buoyant.

  64% think numbers are the same or
                higher
                 Alison Mitchell
   Numbers taking Highers in schools
          & HE admissions

           Scottish schools           UK-HE
       Comp Stud     Info Sys         (UCAS)
2000       2401      1207
2001       4604      2512
2002      4480       2896             - 9%
2003       4753      2852             - 15%
2004                                  - 19%
                                      (52,777)
                    Alison Mitchell
         UCAS UK admissions 2004

Computing      -19.0%                (52,777)
EEE            - 7.7%                (26,349)
Mathematics    +16.3%                (25,543)
Chemistry      +7.1%                 (16,768)
Mech Eng       +12.5%                (24,038)
Civil Eng      +25.2%                (16,408)
Physics        - 9.9%                (15,277)
Zoology        + 7.4%                ( 5,899)
Software Eng   -23.0%                ( 5,732)
Statistics     + 8.8%                ( 1,084)
AI             -15.9%                ( 545)


                   Alison Mitchell
              The sample
Natural diverse mixture of pupils
Not just computing students
Surveyed S1 to S6 pupils
– Interviews, focus groups, PRS questionnaires
– Also interviewed teachers
Big (about 2000 pupils)
Specific requests for senior group:
– Higher Maths
– Intending to go to HE
– Focus groups
    Gender balance
    Computing and non computing pupils
                     Alison Mitchell
 Why have numbers in HE decreased?
  Most popular reasons from senior focus groups

ICT in schools, so no need to take
computing further
Boring
Don’t know what it involves
Too difficult/ hard
Other options more enjoyable
Nature of jobs (but not job shortage)
Teacher/ classes/equipment (very few)

                     Alison Mitchell
        Fewer are taking CS why do you
                 think this is?
                 Fewer people are taking Computing Science at university. Which of these do you think is the most
                                                   important reason?:N=396


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            Use of        Too hard       Less         Few er jobs   A ‘geeky’       Not useful if   Boring     Too much        People
        computers is                 appealing than     around       image           you don't               competition for   would rather
           now so                    other subjects                               w ant a career                 jobs          use them
        common that                                                                in Computing                                than invent
          there’s no                                                                  Science                                  them
        need to take it


                                                                Alison Mitchell
       Comments about ‘Jobs’
  People prefer accountancy or medicine, better paid
  People don’t like pay conditions
  People think it’s too hard to get into
  Very common degree so few jobs available
  IT skills are more common, so not much in demand
  Too many people want to do it
  Too many people not enough jobs
  Dot com bubble
And more positively, but just 1 pupil….
  Useful in all career areas


                        Alison Mitchell
   Is there an image problem?


Lost its glamorous image
Not special any more
Don’t know exactly what it is
Programming too difficult
People don’t like sitting in front of a
computer

                  Alison Mitchell
 Comparison of CS with Maths.
            Edinburgh group

Maths is more difficult
Equally enjoyable
More knowledgeable about Maths as a
subject to study
CS job prospects are better
More aware of graduate jobs in Maths



                Alison Mitchell
         Computing Science:
         what do pupils think?
     Does the experience of ICT in schools
                put pupils off?

 55% say ‘yes it has put me off’
And also
 68% would only take CS if they wanted a
 career in computing
 54% think its more of a skill than a career


                     Alison Mitchell
            The ‘ICT effect’
Use of IT now intuitive, no need for CS knowledge
It’s a modern everyday technology, no need for study
People not interested in learning how computers work
Already know the basics
Not useful if you don’t want a career in CS
More people try to teach themselves to use the
computer
Not essential to know about the insides of a computer
Seen as too common a subject
People would rather use things than invent them
Computing scientists are running out of ideas
Popularity of internet

                      Alison Mitchell
        Computing Science:
        what do pupils think?
What do pupils know about Computing
 Science ?

 60% senior pupils have heard of it but
 don’t know what it is
 40% junior pupils have never heard of it
 & most of the rest don’t know what it is


                 Alison Mitchell
What do you think Computing Science
          might be about?
           Senior group
                                   What do you think Computing Science might be about?:N=406


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         Mostly programming   Similar things to ICT   Learning how to use         Understanding the     Studying computers   Science needed to
                                                      a computer ef f iciently   w ays that computers                        produce computers
                                                                                        operate


                                                               Alison Mitchell
What do you think Computing Science
          might be about?
           Junior group
                                  What do you think Computing Science might be about?:N=409


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        Mostly programming   Similar things to ICT   Learning how to use       Understanding the     Studying computers   Science needed to
                                                     a computer efficiently   w ays that computers                        produce computers
                                                                                     operate

                                                               Alison Mitchell
What is Computing Science most like?
           Senior group
                                 What is Computing Science most like?:N=391


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        Business Management or   Maths               Physics                  ICT   Technological Studies or
             Administration                                                              Engineering


                                             Alison Mitchell
What is Computing Science most like?
           Junior group
                                 What is Computing Science most like?:N=400


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        Business Management or   Maths               Physics                  ICT   Technological Studies or
             Administration                                                              Engineering



                                            Alison Mitchell
    Which best describes your idea of
         Computing Science?
             Senior group
                       Which best describes your idea of Computing Science?:N=396


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        Boring    Difficult to     Interesting           Useful    Demanding        Fun   Heavy going
                 understand


                                                 Alison Mitchell
   Which best describes your idea of
        Computing Science?
            Junior group
                        Which best describes your idea of Computing Science?:N=403


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        Boring    Dif f icult to    Interesting        Usef ul     Demanding         Fun   Heavy going
                 understand


                                              Alison Mitchell
              Positive aspects of CS:
                         Edinburgh group
Jobs
   – Good job prospects
   – Good pay
   – Valuable skills for job

Society
    – Keep up with changes in society
    – Useful in all areas

Personal (ICT skills)
    – Email, internet,
    – Time saving
    – Looks better
    – Useful to be good at computers

Subject
   – Interesting
   – Problem based
   – How to use computer
                               Alison Mitchell
               Negative aspects of CS:
                         Edinburgh group
Personal experience
    – Boring
    – Frustrating
    – Confusing
    – Hardware faults
    – Internet failure

Subject
   – Difficult/ hard/ hard to keep up with

Social
    – Nerdy/ negative image
    – Antisocial

School
   – Out of date text books
   – Poor equipment
   – ‘fluffy’ at standard grade
                              Alison Mitchell
        Skills of Computing Science:
             Edinburgh & Focus groups
  Patience/ perseverance
  Creative
  Good memory
  Problem solving skills
  Programming skills
  Maths & Physics knowledge
  Work hard
  Like computers
  Typing

53% of seniors think it’s a difficult subject
48% would not want to study it at HE
                         Alison Mitchell
What is your Careers library like for CS
             information?

65% of seniors think there is plenty
  information around
But of the focus groups
  32% had never looked in Library
  Another 60% had never looked at CS
The remainder said
  Careers libraries up to date
  Useful for careers in CS
  Less useful for CS courses
                   Alison Mitchell
  Who or what influences choices?
               Edinburgh & focus groups

Top 10
1.  Parents
2. Teachers
3. Guidance teachers
4. School option choice booklets
5. Friends (especially older ones)
6. My own choice
7. Family
8. Careers advisers (very few)
9. University info (hardly anyone)
10. Internet (hardly anyone)

                        Alison Mitchell
 What information would you like about
                 CS?
Careers
   – What it involves as a job
   – What variety of careers use it
   – Job prospects

General
   –   What is it?
   –   What is it used for?
   –   Relevance
   –   What skills?
   –   Not (just) for guys!
   –   ‘How to’ manual

Courses
   – What is involved?
   – Why should I study it?

                              Alison Mitchell
From interviews with teachers
School Computing and CS in HE are not the same
– School computing is shaped by
       Preferences of individual Principal Teachers
       Whether CS or IS taught
       Whether pupils take only ICT

Threats to Computing in schools
–   Reduction in no of CS teachers & their required CS qualifications
–   Limited CPD in rapidly changing subject
–   Old equipment, slow technologies
–   Conflicting curriculum choices
–   New school faculty structure:
       Will CS be in business admin, technology or science?

Growth in ICT across the curriculum
– ICT until S6 (PC passport)


                                Alison Mitchell
             Conclusions:
Shortage of jobs is not especially widely
known & is not the primary cause of declining
numbers
Jobs in computing are not well understood or
well perceived
CS applications to HE may suffer from
perceived success of ICT in developing
personal computing skills in schools
Good pupils may see no need to take CS
Senior pupils are
 – aware CS is not ICT
 – have some idea of skills
 – are not sure what it is
                    Alison Mitchell
             Conclusions:
The subject has lost its ‘novelty ‘
Pupils think others think CS suffers from
‘geeky’ image (but not themselves)
CS is thought of as too hard
Pupils do not really know what it is
What they do know makes them think its
boring
They do have an appreciation of the skills
involved
Parents, teachers and guidance teachers are
key influencers
Information in libraries appears satisfactory
but pupils do not necessarily read it.
                   Alison Mitchell
    Computing Science:
What do you think about what
       pupils think?
   What actions could you take?

  There’s a recruitment strategy
        waiting to happen.




              Alison Mitchell
The recruitment process:
        the past
high application numbers

      Junior pupils



      Senior pupils
      ‘Prospects’



        Applicants




        students


             Alison Mitchell
The recruitment process:
       the future
 low application numbers

      Junior pupils



      Senior pupils
      ‘Prospects’



        Applicants




        students


             Alison Mitchell
 Computing Science:
What do pupils think?


 Thank you for listening

     Alison Mitchell
University of Strathclyde
 a.mitchell@strath.ac.uk

          Alison Mitchell

								
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