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Title: Exploring the Intersectional Development of Computer Science Identities in Young Latinas
Background: There has been a dearth of research on intersectional identities in STEM, including the fields of computing and engineering. In computing education research, much work has been done on broadening participation, but there has been little investigation into how the field of computer science (CS) presents opportunities for students with strong intersectional identities. This study explores the strengths and connections among the unique identities and the symbiotic relationships that elementary Latina students hold in CS identity attainment. Purpose: The aim of this article is to better understand how predominantly low-income, multilingual Latina students experience identity development through the lens of diverse group membership. We examine how young Latinas, through their participation in a yearlong culturally and linguistically responsive CS curriculum, leverage their intersecting identities to rewrite the formula of what a computer scientist is and can be, leaving space to include and invite other strong identities as well. Research Design: An explanatory sequential mixed-methods design was used that analyzed data from predominantly low-income, multilingual Latinas in upper elementary grades, including pre- and post-CS identity surveys (N = 50) delivered before and after implementation of the curriculum, and eight individual semi-structured student interviews. Findings: We found that Latina students developed significantly stronger identification with the field of CS from the beginning to the end of the school year with regard to their experiences with CS, perception of themselves as computer scientists, family support for CS and school, and friend support for CS and school. Interviews revealed that perception of their CS ability greatly influenced identification with CS and that girls’ self-perceptions stemmed from their school, cultural, and home learning environments. Conclusion: Our results highlight the wealth of resources that Latinas bring to the classroom through their home- and community-based assets, which are characterized by intersecting group membership. Students did not report on the intersection between language and CS identity development, which warrants further investigation.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1735040
NSF-PAR ID:
10348807
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Teachers College Record: The Voice of Scholarship in Education
Volume:
124
Issue:
5
ISSN:
0161-4681
Page Range / eLocation ID:
166 to 185
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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