Gender Differences in the Group Dynamics of Smaller CS1 Project Groups

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Abundant research has investigated gender differ- ences from the perspective of the individual, but little research has explored gender differences from a group perspective. This paper presents a survey-based quantitative exploration of gender differences when N=138 students working in smaller (3 stu- dents) groups that are either men-majority (WMM) or men- only (MMM). The study was conducted during four weeks of CS1 project work, and the investigation focused on student struggle, task division, group satisfaction, and course outcomes. We observed four significant gender differences: (i) Many women students express a lack of confidence early in the project work, as do many men students that are part of mixed-gender (WMM) groups, but not men that are part of men-only (MMM) groups; (ii) In men-majority groups, women perform more ‘non- technical’ tasks than men (e.g., analysis, design, and report editing); and (iii) women students in men-majority groups are less satisfied with several aspects of the group work than men students in the same groups. These findings add to our understanding of group dynamics and collaboration (including what to avoid and where to pay extra attention) when assigning projects in smaller groups in computing education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIEEE ASEE Frontiers in Education Conference 2023
Place of PublicationCollege Station, Texas, USA
Publication date2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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