Title

Measuring the success of intervention programmes designed to increase the participation rate by women in computing

Abstract

Many intervention programmes to encourage greater female participation in computer education and

careers have been conducted in the last twenty years. These intervention programmes take

considerable time, effort and money to design and implement. If success were to be measured by an

increase in the percentage of female students undertaking computing courses then these programmes

would have to be considered a failure. This paper describes a research project which examined

fourteen intervention programmes in detail. From the perspective of the programme champions each

of the intervention programmes was considered successful, even when this success was restricted to

specific areas or limited to small groups of individuals. Formal evaluation appeared to have been an

afterthought rather than a priority of many of the programme champions. Some programmes

appeared to be less effective due to the lack of targeted and clear goals or predetermined evaluation

criteria. It is recommended that during the initial planning phase for intervention programmes a clear

objective is to consider what a successful programme would look like and what the evaluation criteria

would be. Further work is needed to understand how intervention programmes can be better designed

and evaluated so that their impact and success can be expanded.

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