This study examined
gender differences in computer technology achievement. The setting
was a central Georgia middle school. The participants were an intact
group of 8th grade students in an Exploration of Technology class.
A total of 64 children (32 boys and 32 girls), aged 13 and 14 years
old, participated in this study. Scores from a pretest and posttest
of male and female students were compared using Analysis of Covariance
with repeated measures and gender as the factor. Analysis of data
showed that there were gender differences in computer technology achievement.
The findings were statistically significant. The results confirmed
earlier findings and added to our knowledge about achievement in computer
commonly identified with the areas of mathematics and science, areas
in which for many years there has been a widespread concern about
sex-related differences. It is not surprising, therefore, to find
similar differences emerging in the area of computers. Much research
and discussion have gone into investigating gender differences in
students at all grade levels in learning and achievement in the areas
of mathematics, science, and technology. The research literature on
computer education has examined gender differences since the early
1980s (Young, 2000). In the educational research literature, various
factors associated with gender differences have been explored in connection
to computer technology achievement.
Many factors in and outside the classroom result in girls being turned
away from computer technology (Koch, 1994). These factors include
the media depicting men as experts in technology, societal expectations
of different goals for boys and girls, the structure of learning tasks,
the nature of feedback in performance situations, and the organization
of classroom seating. Because these factors are often subtle, they
go unnoticed. It is little wonder why girls are not interested in
Research on gender differences in behavior toward computers has increased
in the past 20 years. Numerous articles have been written focusing
on differences regarding computer aptitude and actual computer use.
Kay (1992) defined aptitude in respect to general application software,
awareness, experience, terminology, general programming, word processing,
In a pilot study by Pryor in 1995, boys achieved much better results
than girls. For boys, the application of the finished task was less
likely to be questioned and a sense of purpose came from the achievement
of the goal. The process was important because it allowed boys to
work with hardware and make things happen. For girls, the goal was
important if it had some application and seemed to be leading somewhere.
The process was significant to girls because it gave them a sense
of camaraderie with a partner. Statistics in this case study showed
that more boys than girls use computers.
Gender differences in response to computers have been widely reported
by various experts in the educational field. Computers are not inherently
biased. However, the way computers are used can often reinforce gender
bias. Parents and teachers should be sensitive to cultural biases
and strive to expose both sexes to the advantages of computer technology.
New ideas should be devised in order to promote greater gender equity
in computer use and help close the technological gap between boys
and girls (Dorman, 1998).
Educators need to link the curriculum and technology with student
interests. Both male and female students use computer applications
that can be linked to the educational setting, such as word processing,
accessing information, and completing homework, reports, and projects.
But students also use computers for communication, self-expression,
and personal interest (Houtz, 2001). How females relate to technology
and the value they bring to technology are often ignored or devalued
in education. Once educators begin to understand how girls lose interest
in technology and recognize the different learning styles of each
gender, strides can be made in supporting girls and women in choosing
computer-related careers and using computers as a medium of expression.
has consistently documented gender differences in computer achievement.
From these findings, one would expect to see males with higher achievement
levels than females. The purpose of this study was to determine if
there were gender differences in computer achievement based on the
results from repeated testing measures. This study investigated gender
differences in computer technology achievement.