Flexible Low-cost Activities to Develop Novice Code Comprehension Skills in Schools

Donaldson, P. and Cutts, Q. (2018) Flexible Low-cost Activities to Develop Novice Code Comprehension Skills in Schools. In: 13th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education (WiPSCE '18), Potsdam, Germany, 04-06 Oct 2018, p. 19. ISBN 9781450365888 (doi:10.1145/3265757.3265776)

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Abstract

The lack of code comprehension skills in novice programming students is recognised as a major factor underpinning poor learning outcomes. We use Schulte’s Block Model to support teachers’ understanding of how to break the skill down into component parts that are more manageable for a learner. This analysis is operationalised in three code annotation-based learning/assessment exercise formats, two helping students to identify and describe programming concepts and the third enabling them to parse code correctly and carry out desk executions. A great benefit of the activities is that they are low cost and can be applied to any imperative style code and so can be easily adopted by schools anywhere; furthermore, they are active, not passive, an issue with some animation-based visualisation approaches. The exercise formats were included as part of a national schools computing science professional learning programme (PLAN C).

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Keywords:Notional machine, block model, program comprehension, formative assessment.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cutts, Professor Quintin and Donaldson, Mr Peter
Authors: Donaldson, P., and Cutts, Q.
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Research Group:Pedagogy, Praxis and Faith
ISBN:9781450365888
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Proceedings of the 13th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education (WiPSCE '18): 19
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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