Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.


Durham Research Online
You are in:

Failure rates in introductory programming revisited.

Watson, Christopher and Li, Frederick W. B. (2014) 'Failure rates in introductory programming revisited.', in Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Innovation & technology in computer science education (ITiCSE '14). New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), pp. 39-44.

Abstract

Whilst working on an upcoming meta-analysis that synthesized fifty years of research on predictors of programming performance, we made an interesting discovery. Despite several studies citing a motivation for research as the high failure rates of introductory programming courses, to date, the majority of available evidence on this phenomenon is at best anecdotal in nature, and only a single study by Bennedsen and Caspersen has attempted to determine a worldwide pass rate of introductory programming courses. In this paper, we answer the call for further substantial evidence on the CS1 failure rate phenomenon, by performing a systematic review of introductory programming literature, and a statistical analysis on pass rate data extracted from relevant articles. Pass rates describing the outcomes of 161 CS1 courses that ran in 15 different countries, across 51 institutions were extracted and analysed. An almost identical mean worldwide pass rate of 67.7% was found. Moderator analysis revealed significant, but perhaps not substantial differences in pass rates based upon: grade level, country, and class size. However, pass rates were found not to have significantly differed over time, or based upon the programming language taught in the course. This paper serves as a motivation for researchers of introductory programming education, and provides much needed quantitative evidence on the potential difficulties and failure rates of this course.

Item Type:Book chapter
Additional Information:Best Full Paper Award (Top downloaded paper on ACM SIGCSE over six weeks), updated on 01/10/2014.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
(272Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2591708.2591749
Publisher statement:© 2014 ACM. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Innovation & technology in computer science education (ITiCSE '14), http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2591708.2591749
Date accepted:01 June 2014
Date deposited:13 July 2016
Date of first online publication:2014
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Export:
Export
Look up in GoogleScholar