Computing GCSE ‘leaves girls and poorer students behind’

The BBC is reporting that a Computing GCSE could leave behind girls and more disadvantaged students.

A revolution is under way in the teaching of computer science in schools in England – but it risks leaving girls and pupils from poorer backgrounds and ethnic minorities behind. That’s the conclusion of academics who’ve studied data about the move from ICT as a national curriculum subject to computer science.

Four years ago, amid general disquiet that ICT was teaching children little more than how Microsoft Office worked, the government took the subject off the national curriculum. The idea was that instead schools should move to offering more rigorous courses in computer science – children would learn to code rather than how to do PowerPoint.

But academics at Roehampton University, who compile an annual study of computing education, have some worrying news. First, just 28% of schools entered pupils for the GCSE in computing in 2015. At A-level, only 24% entered pupils for the qualification.

Then there’s the evidence that girls just aren’t being persuaded to take an interest – 16% of GCSE computing entrants in 2015 were female and the figure for the A-level was just 8.5% . The qualification is relatively new and more schools – and more girls, took it in 2016 – but female participation was still only 20% for the GCSE and 10% for the A-level.

It also appears that poorer children and those from ethnic minorities are less likely to be getting the computing education the government says is vital if the UK is to have the skills it needs to compete in the digital era.

More at: Computing GCSE ‘leaves girls and poorer students behind’

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or via Twitter. ~ Meena

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