A fresh look at novice programmers' performance and their teachers' expectations

Ian Utting, Allison Elliott Tew, Mike McCracken, Lynda Ann Thomas, Dennis Bouvier, Roger Frye, James Paterson, Michael Caspersen, Yifat Ben-David Kolikant, Juha Sorva, Tadeusz Wilusz

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

40 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

This paper describes the results of an ITiCSE working group convened in 2013 to review and revisit the influential ITiCSE 2001 McCracken working group that reported [18] on novice programmers' ability to solve a specified programming problem. Like that study, the one described here asked students to implement a simple program. Unlike the original study, students' in this study were given significant scaffolding for their efforts, including a test harness. Their knowledge of programming concepts was also assessed via a standard language-neutral survey.

One of the significant findings of the original working group was that students were less successful at the programming task than their teachers expected, so in this study teachers' expectations were explicitly gathered and matched with students' performance. This study found a significant correlation between students' performance in the practical task and the survey, and a significant effect on performance in the practical task attributable to the use of the test harness. The study also found a much better correlation between teachers' expectations of their students' performance than in the 2001 working group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages15-32
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventProceedings of the ITiCSE working group reports conference on Innovation and Technology in computer science education - University of Kent, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Duration: 01 Jul 201303 Jul 2013

Conference

ConferenceProceedings of the ITiCSE working group reports conference on Innovation and Technology in computer science education
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Period01 Jul 201303 Jul 2013

Keywords

  • programming
  • CS1
  • assessment
  • replication

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