CCE Theses and Dissertations

A Study of Attrition and the Use of Student Learning Communities in the Computer Science Introductory Programming Sequence

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

Laurie Dringus

Committee Member

Maryellen Weimer


Student attrition and low graduation rates are critical problems in computer science education. Disappointing graduation rates and declining student interest have caught the attention of business leaders, researchers and universities. With weak graduation rates and little interest in scientific computing, many are concerned about the nation's ability to meet current demands and to remain competitive, both in product development and technological advances.

This dissertation targeted student attrition in the first year of college by studying the impact of learning communities on freshmen computer science students. Several factors including class size, technology in the classroom, and active learning environments were infused into groups in the study to determine the impact on student grades and persistence.

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