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A Fresh Look at Novice Programmers’ Performance and Their Teachers’ Expectations

Utting, Ian, Bouvier, Dennis, Caspersen, Michael, Elliott Tew, Allison, Frye, Roger, Kolikant, Yifat, McCracken, Mike, Paterson, James, Sorva, Juha, Thomas, Lynda, and others. (2013) A Fresh Look at Novice Programmers’ Performance and Their Teachers’ Expectations. In: ITiCSE -WGR '13. Proceedings of the ITiCSE working group reports conference on Innovation and technology in computer science education-working group reports. 18 (1). pp. 15-32. ACM New York, NY, USA ISBN 978-1-4503-2665-0. (doi:10.1145/2543882.2543884)

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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 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


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.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
DOI/Identification number: 10.1145/2543882.2543884
Uncontrolled keywords: Programming, CS1, assessment, replication
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science) > QA 76 Software, computer programming,
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Computing
Faculties > Sciences > School of Computing > Computing Education Group
Depositing User: Ian Utting
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2014 10:24 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2019 10:37 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Utting, Ian:
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