Faculty Publications

Title

Identifying student misconceptions of programming

Document Type

Conference

Keywords

Concept inventory, CS1, Curriculum, Misconceptions, Pedagogy, Programming

Journal/Book/Conference Title

SIGCSE'10 - Proceedings of the 41st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education

First Page

107

Last Page

111

Abstract

Computing educators are often baffled by the misconceptions that their CS1 students hold. We need to understand these misconceptions more clearly in order to help students form correct conceptions. This paper describes one stage in the development of a concept inventory for Computing Fundamentals: investigation of student misconceptions in a series of core CS1 topics previously identified as both important and difficult. Formal interviews with students revealed four distinct themes, each containing many interesting misconceptions. Three of those misconceptions are detailed in this paper: two misconceptions about memory models, and data assignment when primitives are declared. Individual misconceptions are related, but vary widely, thus providing excellent material to use in the development of the CI. In addition, CS1 instructors are provided immediate usable material for helping their students understand some difficult introductory concepts. Copyright 2010 ACM.

Original Publication Date

5-18-2010

DOI of published version

10.1145/1734263.1734299

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