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Capital One Coders inspires students to recognize their potential as technologists by helping them cultivate a greater interest in computer science during a critical period in their development. 

According to a recent study conducted by ImpactED, a research and evaluation center based at the University of Pennsylvania, on behalf of Capital One, Capital One Coders is boosting students’ knowledge of and interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

Since its launch in 2014, Capital One technologists have worked directly with students throughout the program to build a mentoring relationship and inspire confidence as they explore technology through design thinking and coding. 

Since the program’s creation, Capital One Coders has partnered with over 120 schools and youth-serving nonprofit organizations across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

In turn, more than 22,000 students have considered pursuing careers in computer science. 

More than 6,500 volunteers from Capital One have contributed over 130,000 hours in pro bono volunteerism through this program.

To learn about the impact of the Coders program, ImpactED surveyed schools and youth-serving organizations across seven markets, including 18 school districts and organizations and conducted in-depth interviews with a subset of partners, students and their parents. 

Findings from the study demonstrate that participating in the Coders program has a powerful impact on students. 

  • 100% of partners report that students increase their knowledge of and interest in STEM through participation in the Coders Program. 
    • This finding demonstrates that Coders is addressing the challenge that students begin to lose interest in STEM in the upper elementary and middle school grades, which then negatively influences their academic achievement and longer-term STEM aspirations.
  • 100% of partners report that the Coders Program increases students’ self-efficacy for learning new technologies. 
    • Partners shared that the relationships built between Capital One mentors and students boosted students’ self-efficacy, defined as their belief in their own STEM abilities. 
    • Students’ relationships with mentors also helped them cultivate social and emotional skills such as self-awareness, responsible decision making, and self-management.
  • 81% of partners reported that the Coders Program contributed to increases in students’ professional network. 
    • A recent report released by the Christensen Institute found that students’ networks support their well-being and can expand their postsecondary and career options. The Coders Program capitalizes on the power of these types of networks by connecting students to experienced mentors who can provide needed guidance.

As demonstrated in the figure below, 100% of nonprofit partners and 96% of district partners reported that the Coders program filled a critical need for computer science programming to a moderate or large extent. 

Figure: Extent to which partners report Coders fills existing student needs for computer science.

Amid school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts and organizations were tasked with providing virtual computer science education to all students. Capital One responded by pivoting the Coders program to a fully online format to support and supplement the educational needs of children.

“We’re committed to using feedback from our partners to continually improve and scale our Coders program,” says Rob Alexander, Chief Information Officer at Capital One. “Seeing the outcomes from the ImpactED study, particularly the demonstrated value of our program and technologists, are encouraging and incredibly motivating. We have a huge opportunity to reach even more students through our virtual programs and I continue to be driven by our Coders vision of helping students succeed in the digital age.”

Capital One Coders is part of our broader mission to change banking for good, which we are propelling forward through the Capital One Impact Initiative

Launched in October 2020, that initial $200 million, multi-year commitment strives to advance socioeconomic mobility and create a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper through advocating for an inclusive society, building thriving communities and creating financial tools that enrich lives.

“The Coders program provides access to opportunity,” said one Coders partner organization. “Mentors from Coders are always eager to help and the programming is so creative and informative. The students learn so much in a short period of time.”