Early relational reasoning and the novice programmer : swapping as the “hello world” of relational reasoning

Corney, Malcolm W., Lister, Raymond, & Teague, Donna M. (2011) Early relational reasoning and the novice programmer : swapping as the “hello world” of relational reasoning. In Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology (CRPIT), Australian Computer Society, Inc., Curtin University, Perth, pp. 95-104.

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We report on a longitudinal research study of the development of novice programmers in their first semester of programming. In the third week, almost half of our sample of students could not answer an explain-in-plain-English question, for code consisting of just three assignment statements, which swapped the values in two variables. We regard code that swaps the values of two variables as the simplest case of where a programming student can manifest a SOLO relational response. Our results demonstrate that the problems many students face with understanding code can begin very early, on relatively trivial code. However, using traditional programming exercises, these problems often go undetected until late in the semester. New approaches are required to detect and fix these problems earlier.

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6 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 39586
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: novice programmer, SOLO, chunking, HERN
ISBN: 9781920682941
ISSN: 1445-1336
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)
Divisions: Past > Schools > Computer Science
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Australian Computer Society Inc
Copyright Statement: The series is published by, and most papers are copyright of, the Australian Computer Society Inc. Reproduction for academic research and not-for-profit purposes is granted provided the copyright notice on the first page of each paper is included.
Deposited On: 21 Jan 2011 01:04
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2014 22:17

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