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A study by a ITiCSE 2001 working group ("the McCracken Group") established that many students do not know how to program at the conclusion of their introductory courses. A popular explanation for this incapacity is that the students lack the ability to problem-solve. That is, they lack the ability to take a problem description, decompose it into(More)
This study analyzed student responses to an examination, after the students had completed one semester of instruction in programming. The performance of students on code tracing tasks correlated with their performance on code writing tasks. A correlation was also found between performance on "explain in plain English" tasks and code writing. A stepwise(More)
This paper reports on the authors use of the SOLO taxonomy to describe differences in the way students and educators solve small code reading exercises. SOLO is a general educational taxonomy, and has not previously been applied to the study of how novice programmers manifest their understanding of code. Data was collected in the form of written and(More)
When designing a first semester "CS1" programming subject, I advocate "truth in sentencing". That is, the objectives should be explicit, and the assessment tasks should reflect the objectives. This may appear to be a statement of the obvious, but few subjects satisfy these criteria. The traditional CS1 approach is to set students the task of writing(More)
This paper explores the programming knowledge of novices using Biggs' SOLO taxonomy. It builds on previous work of Lister et al. (2006) and addresses some of the criticisms of that work. The research was conducted by studying the exam scripts for 120 introductory programming students, in which three specific questions were analyzed using the SOLO taxonomy.(More)
This paper describes a multinational , multi-institutional study that investigated i ntroductory programming courses. . Student participants were drawn from eleven institutions, mainly in Australasia, during the academic year of 2004. A number of diagnostic tasks were used to explore cognitive, behavioural, and attitudinal factors. Reproduction for(More)