Student understanding of object-oriented programming as expressed in concept maps

J. Moström, Lynda Thomas, R. McCartney, Jonas Boustedt, K. Sanders, Anna Eckerdal

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

54 Citations (SciVal)


In this paper, we present the results of an experiment in which we sought to elicit students' understanding of object-oriented (OO) concepts using concept maps. Our analysis confirmed earlier research indicating that students do not have a firm grasp on the distinction between 'class' and 'instance.' Unlike earlier research, we found that our students generally connect classes with both data and behavior. Students rarely included any mention of the hardware/software context of programs, their users, or their real-world domains. Students do mention inheritance, but not encapsulation or abstraction. And the picture they draw of OO is a static one: we found nothing that could be construed as referring to interaction among objects in a program. We then discuss the implications for teaching introductory OO programming.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2008


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