An Investigation Into The Relationship Between The Level Of Cognitive Maturity And The Types Of Errors Made By Students In A Computer Programming Course

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S. Ranjeeth
Ramu Naidoo

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Abstract

Computer Programming forms the basis from which most students in the IS/IT discipline launch themselves into further endeavors in the discipline. However, statistical analysis of students performances in programming related assessments tasks reveals that the mastery of computer programming skills is not easily acquired. This assertion is supported by the reports of high failure rates in programming courses at several academic institutes. This trend is also confirmed at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) where programming related assessments have resulted in failure rates as high as 50%. The study encompasses a hybrid model consisting of a semi-structured interview and an error analysis of student responses in a programming examination. Students were grouped into cognitive level 1, 2 and 3. A qualitative theoretical framework of Piaget and error classification using Naidoo (1996) The results indicate that cognitive group 1 exhibited the most structural errors whilst the cognitive group 3 exhibited the least structural errors. .

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