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Some empirical results for neo-Piagetian reasoning in novice programmers and the relationship to code explanation questions

Corney, Malcolm W., Teague, Donna M., Ahadi, Alireza , & Lister, Raymond (2012) Some empirical results for neo-Piagetian reasoning in novice programmers and the relationship to code explanation questions. In de Raadt, Michael & Carbone, Angela (Eds.) Proceedings of Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology (CRPIT), Australian Computer Society Inc, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC. (In Press)

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Abstract

Recent research on novice programmers has suggested that they pass through neo-Piagetian stages: sensorimotor, preoperational, and concrete operational stages, before eventually reaching programming competence at the formal operational stage. This paper presents empirical results in support of this neo-Piagetian perspective. The major novel contributions of this paper are empirical results for some exam questions aimed at testing novices for the concrete operational abilities to reason with quantities that are conserved, processes that are reversible, and properties that hold under transitive inference. While the questions we used had been proposed earlier by Lister, he did not present any data for how students performed on these questions. Our empirical results demonstrate that many students struggle to answer these problems, despite the apparent simplicity of these problems. We then compare student performance on these questions with their performance on six explain in plain English questions.

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ID Code: 48138
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: novice programmer, CS1, neo-Piagetian, HERN
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > COMPUTER SOFTWARE (080300)
Divisions: Past > Schools > Computer Science
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright © 2012, Australian Computer Society, Inc.
Copyright Statement: This paper appeared at the 14th Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE 2012), Melbourne, Australia, January-February 2012. Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology (CRPIT), Vol. 123. M. de Raadt and A. Carbone, Eds. Reproduction for academic, not-for profit purposes permitted provided this text is included.
Deposited On: 19 Jan 2012 08:02
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2012 03:19

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