University of Hawaii at Manoa researchers are using a $300,000 grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to evaluate a new approach to improving engagement, diversity, and retention in undergraduate computer science education.
Less than 40% of students who enter college with the intention of majoring in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field actually complete the degree, and participation among women and underrepresented minorities has been decreasing.
The university team will assess a conceptual framework known as Degree Experience Plans and its implementation in the RadGrad open source system. RadGrad offers a different perspective on the computer science and computer engineering degree experiences by valuing involvement in extracurricular computer science and engineering activities as much as coursework. Rather than measuring success on GPA alone, the system uses a three-part measure based on innovation, competency and experience (ICE). Students earn ICE points for activities inside and outside the classroom, with incentives to earn points in all three areas.
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