Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Mimi M. Recker


Mimi M. Recker


Jody Clarke-Midura


Jessica M. Shumway


Hillary Swanson


Brenna Kim


This two-paper dissertation explores factors influencing the attitudes of Grade 5 students who are learning computer science (CS) in schools. It statistically examines the effects of out and in-school factors on students’ attitudes toward computing. The first paper of this dissertation examines the influence of parental support as perceived by the students on their interest and their self-assessed ability to engage in computer programming, thus underscoring the crucial role of parental support on learners’ attitudes. It also investigates how involving families in CS activities by sending a CS-themed board game influences students’ interest. The study finds that perceptions of parental support positively influence students’ interest and their self-assessed ability to engage in computer programming. It also finds that sending CS artifacts home can significantly mediate the influence of parental support on students’ interest in programming. The second paper focuses on developing reliable measurements of students’ perceptions of mathematics and CS-integrated instructional activities. These measures are called exit tickets and are used to collect immediate student responses relating to their experiences after instructional activities. Building on prior research, this paper statistically examines whether students’ exit ticket responses predict self-assessed ability, interest, and identification with CS. Results show that perceived enjoyment reported on exit tickets significantly predicts self-assessed ability, interest, and identification with CS. Perceived ease also significantly predicts self-assessed ability. The remaining correlations between exit ticket measures and post-survey measures are not significant. The findings suggest that student exit tickets are effective tools to gauge engagement and correlate with student attitudes toward computing. Specifically, students who report finding the lesson enjoyable and easy are more likely to express a positive attitude toward programming. This suggests that brief exit ticket surveys could serve as effective indicators of student engagement, potentially replacing longer surveys. Identifying the factors that shape students’ attitudes toward CS provides valuable insights into the design of instructional methods, curricula, and family engagement strategies. Such initiatives can foster a positive attitude among young learners towards CS, significantly contributing to shaping their beliefs and challenging stereotypes associated with computing.