We are happy to announce that PEL won Second Best Paper Award this year at SIGCSE 2018 conference within the CS Education Research track. The paper, called How Near Peer Mentoring Affects Middle School Mentees, was authored by Dr. Clarke-Midura, her team (Frederick Poole, Katarina Pantic, Chongning Sun, Megan Hamilton) and Dr. Allan from Computer Science department at USU. SIGCSE 2018 Program Chairs selected three best papers from each of the paper tracks for their “accomplishment of high quality, novelty and broad appeal to reviewers”.

Paper abstract: “In response to the national demand to increase participation in CS, we argue that youth’s interest in computer science (CS) can be sparked by providing them with role models who are relatable and who resonate with their identities. To that end, we developed a mentoring model in which we train high schoolers to be near-peer mentors for middle schoolers learning to program in summer camps. In this paper, we present results from a mixed-methods study where we examined the relationship between mentor relatability and middle school campers’ self-efficacy and interest in CS. Pre- and post-surveys were used to measure campers’ affective outcomes around computing and mentor relatability. In addition, interviews and observations were used to illustrate the mechanisms that led to change in affect. Our findings suggest that mentor relatability is a significant predictor of campers’ self-efficacy and interest in CS. Results from the qualitative data further exemplify how mentor relatability was perceived and manifested in the camps.”

The SIGCSE Technical Symposium is the largest computing education conference worldwide organized by ACM SIGCSE. It attracts around 1,300 researchers, educators, and others interested in improving computing education in K-12 and higher education. (from SIGCSE website)

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