Further evidence of a relationship between explaining, tracing and writing skills in introductory programming

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the Conference on Integrating Technology into Computer Science Education, ITiCSE, 2009, pp. 161 - 165
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This paper reports on a replication of earlier studies into a possible hierarchy of programming skills. In this study, the students from whom data was collected were at a university that had not provided data for earlier studies. Also, the students were taught the programming language "Python", which had not been used in earlier studies. Thus this study serves as a test of whether the findings in the earlier studies were specific to certain institutions, student cohorts, and programming languages. Also, we used a non-parametric approach to the analysis, rather than the linear approach of earlier studies. Our results are consistent with the earlier studies. We found that students who cannot trace code usually cannot explain code, and also that students who tend to perform reasonably well at code writing tasks have also usually acquired the ability to both trace code and explain code. © 2009 ACM.
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