Peluso, E. M., & Sprechini, G. (2012). The Impact of Alice on the Attitudes of High School Students Toward Computing. Journal for Computing Teachers, 7, Winter 2012.


Type: Empirical

Purpose: "In this paper, we present the results of a study conducted to determine the impact of Carnegie Mellon’s Alice on the attitudes of high school students with regards to computing. A two-week unit of instruction in Alice was developed and presented to high school students, and pre and post surveys were administered to assess attitudinal changes. We present the content of the unit and analyses of the collected data" (p. 1).

Findings: "49 (70%) of the 70 students had a positive reaction to Alice, based on their responses to the question, “How do you feel about the Alice software?” on the post survey. A chi-square goodness-of-fit test showed that there is at least one statistically significant difference among the proportions in Figure 1 (c2 5 = 24.29, p < 0.001) with the highest proportion of students selecting “Like"... Of the 70 students completing the surveys, 9 responded “yes” to the pre survey question, “Have you used the Alice software before?”... The data support the current wisdom that girls enjoy using computers as much as boys... 39% (27/70) of students felt that they had learned something about programming, 44% (31/70) reflected no change, and 17% (12/70) felt that they knew more before they started the project than when it was over... Students were asked, “How likely are you to choose a career in the computer field (e.g. programmer, network specialist, technician, etc.)?” Figures 13 and 14 give the responses and attitudinal shifts, respectively. Again, we observe a shift in the positive direction, but the number of participants was too small to draw any definitive conclusions" (p. 6, 7).

Recommendations: "We agree with Bruckman, et al. (2009) and Goode (2008) that to improve recruitment, retention, and diversity, improvements must be made at every stage of the pipeline. A student attending a summer camp may become excited about computer science and want to take additional computing classes, but if none are offered at her high school, or if she is the only girl enrolled, her enthusiasm is likely to wane" (p. 8).


Sample Size: 70

Participant Type: Students

Notes: "All school districts in north central Pennsylvania were given a description of the project and its objectives and were invited to participate in the project. Two school districts accepted our offer to teach the two-week unit with a total of 5 different high school classes, 4 different subjects (Communications/Video, Web Design, Graphics I Communications, and Multimedia), and 3 different teachers"