Identifying student misconceptions of programming

Lisa C. Kaczmarczyk, Elizabeth R. Petrick, J. Philip East, Geoffrey L. Herman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

98 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSIGCSE'10 - Proceedings of the 41st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
Pages107-111
Number of pages5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event41st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE'10 - Milwaukee, WI, United States
Duration: Mar 10 2010Mar 13 2010

Publication series

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

Other

Other41st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE'10
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMilwaukee, WI
Period3/10/103/13/10

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Education

Keywords

  • CS1
  • Concept inventory
  • Curriculum
  • Misconceptions
  • Pedagogy
  • Programming

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