An important problem faced by many Computer Science and Software Engineering programs is declining enrollment. In an effort to reverse that trend at Mississippi State University, we have instituted pair programming for the laboratory exercises in the introductory programming course. This paper describes a study performed to analyze whether using pair programming would increase retention. An important goal of this study was not only to measure increased retention, but to provide insight into why retention increased or decreased. The results of the study showed that retention significantly increased for those students already majoring in Computer Science, Software Engineering, or Computer Engineering. In addition, survey results indicated that the students viewed many aspects of pair programming to be very beneficial to their learning experience.
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