Investigating novice programming mistakes

Neil C.C. Brown, Amjad Altadmri
2014 Proceedings of the tenth annual conference on International computing education research - ICER '14  
Educators often form opinions on which programming mistakes novices make most often -for example, in Java: "they always confuse equality with assignment", or "they always call methods with the wrong types". These opinions are generally based solely on personal experience. We report a study to determine if programming educators form a consensus about which Java programming mistakes are the most common. We used the Blackbox data set to check whether the educators' opinions matched data from over
more » ... hed data from over 100,000 students -and checked whether this agreement was mediated by educators' experience. We found that educators formed only a weak consensus about which mistakes are most frequent, that their rankings bore only a moderate correspondence to the students in the Blackbox data, and that educators' experience had no effect on this level of agreement. These results raise questions about claims educators make regarding which errors students are most likely to commit.
doi:10.1145/2632320.2632343 dblp:conf/icer/BrownA14 fatcat:5kmqotisp5ev7j4hkv2koizota