Seeing Program Output Improves Novice Learning Gains

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openAccess
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Conference article in proceedings
Date
2023-06-29
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
7
180-186
Series
ITiCSE 2023 - Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
Abstract
In this article, we report results from a randomized controlled trial where novice programmers completed code mimicking exercises - writing and modifying code shown to them - designed to help learn the basics of how variables work. Using a tailored code writing system with feedback on program correctness, we conducted a two-group design study where only one of the groups could see the program output and feedback on the correctness of the program they wrote, while the other group just saw feedback on correctness. Learning gain was measured using a code-reading multiple choice questionnaire as both a pretest and a posttest. Our data suggests that being able to see program output leads to higher learning gains for novices, when compared to just being able to see feedback on the correctness of the code. For more experienced students, we observed benefits from code mimicking in both groups, without a strong distinction between being able to see the output and not being able to see the output. Based on our experiment, we recommend that environments used by novices for learning programming should encourage - or even require - running the code before allowing submitting the program for assessment.
Description
Funding Information: We are grateful for the grant from the Ulla Tuominen Foundation to the first author. We would also like to thank Chad Mano for including the pilot study in his course. Publisher Copyright: © 2023 Owner/Author.
Keywords
automated assessment, feedback, misconceptions, novice programmer, program output, randomized controlled trial, variables
Other note
Citation
Leinonen , J , Hellas , A & Edwards , J 2023 , Seeing Program Output Improves Novice Learning Gains . in ITiCSE 2023 - Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education . ACM , pp. 180-186 , Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education , Turku , Finland , 08/07/2023 . https://doi.org/10.1145/3587102.3588796