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.

View at publisher


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.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

244 since deposited on 18 Jan 2012
25 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 48138
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
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: 18 Jan 2012 22:02
Last Modified: 26 Dec 2014 00:55

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page