A QUASI-EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF THE EFFECTS OF AN INTENSIVE COMPUTER PROGRAMMING EXPERIENCE ON THE SELF-ESTEEM AND LOCUS OF CONTROL OF A GROUP OF HIGH ACHIEVING INNER CITY YOUTHS
The primary hypothesis was that an 120 hour Atari-designed programming experience would significantly enhance the self-esteem and locus of control of a group of students and that any improvement would hold up over an eight month period. The treatment group was 21 ninth and tenth grade students, all of black racial origin, from a selective, public, college-preparatory high school in the District of Columbia. No student in the treatment group had any prior computer experience. The independent variable consisted of a computer programming experience designed by Atari for use at their summer computer camps and was held in the Future Center of the Capital Children's Museum for a month during the summer. The students were introduced to computer graphics, computer sound generation, and text processing during the first three weeks and were encouraged to design an independent project during the fourth. Self-esteem was measured by Coopersmith's Self-Esteem Inventory, and locus of control by Crandall, Katkovsky, and Crandall's Intellectual Achievement Responsibility questionnaire. The instruments were administered to the treatment group before and after the treatment and again eight months later. The third administration was given to the treatment group and a comparison group drawn from classmates of the treatment group. Self-esteem mean scores increased significantly between the pretest and posttest and regressed slightly on the follow-up test given eight months later. However, the mean difference between the pretest and the follow-up remained significant. Locus of control mean scores increased significantly between the pretest and posttest, and made a non-significant gain between the posttest and the follow-up. The mean difference between the pretest and the follow-up for locus of control was significant. No significant difference was found between the treatment and the comparison group for either locus of control or self-esteem. All results are reported at a p < .05 level of significance or better. The findings suggest that self-esteem and locus of control can be enhanced by a computer programming experience and that the gain can be more than a short-term shift.