School of Computing

Programmed to succeed?: A multi-national, multi-institutional study of introductory programming courses

Sally Fincher, Bob Baker, Ilona Box, Quintin Cutts, Michael de Raadt, Patricia Haden, John Hamer, Margaret Hamilton, Raymond Lister, and Marian Petre et al

Technical Report 1-05, University of Kent, Computing Laboratory, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, UK, April 2005.


This paper describes a multi-national, multi-institutional study that investigated introductory 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 such as spatial visualisation and reasoning, the ability to articulate strategies for common-place search and design tasks, and attitudes to studying. The results indicate that: a deep approach to learning was positively correlated with mark for the course, while a surface approach was negatively correlated; spatial visualisation skills are correlated with success; a progression of map drawing styles identified in the literature has a significant effect with marks; and increasing measures of richness of articulation of a search strategy are also associated with higher marks. Finally, a qualitative analysis of short interviews identified the qualities that students themselves regarded as important to learn programming well.

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Bibtex Record

author = {Sally Fincher and Bob Baker and Ilona Box and Quintin Cutts and Michael de Raadt and Patricia Haden and John Hamer and Margaret Hamilton and Raymond Lister and Marian Petre et al},
title = {{Programmed to succeed?: A multi-national, multi-institutional study of introductory programming courses}},
month = {April},
year = {2005},
pages = {182-196},
keywords = {determinacy analysis, Craig interpolants},
note = {},
doi = {},
url = {},
    publication_type = {techreport},
    submission_id = {11402_1113487396},
    number = {1-05},
    address = {University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, UK},
    institution = {University of Kent, Computing Laboratory},

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