University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Exploring gender differences in primary school computer programming classes: a study in an English state-funded urban school

Price, Colin ORCID: and Price-Mohr, R. (2021) Exploring gender differences in primary school computer programming classes: a study in an English state-funded urban school. Education 3-13 International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education. ISSN 0300-4279 Online: 1475-7575

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This study investigates computer programming (‘coding’) activities of Primary School Children; we ask if there is evidence of gender differences in their coding activities. The research took place in an English urban school with around 180 children on role, mostly from a middle-class social background. The study involved a class of 17 boys and 15 girls aged 10–11 years. Teaching was delivered by the class teacher using our ‘WeeBee engine’, where children code animated stories using the professional text-based language Java. We first review relevant literature about gender differences to develop criteria for our analysis. We assess the children’s code, their process of coding and the quality of their final animated stories. Our findings strongly suggest there are no gender differences in coding ability and in the quality of stories created. We suggest that practitioners should not assume that gender differences exist in this context, and they should not adapt their teaching to gender. The WeeBee engine is established as being gender neutral and we recommend its use by practitioners.

Item Type: Article
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© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

A pdf file of this article is available to download from this WRaP record.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: primary school, elementary school, computer programming, gender differences
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > Worcester Business School
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Copyright Info: Open Access article
Depositing User: Colin Price
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2021 07:26
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2021 07:26

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