What Effect Does CS0 Have On CS1 Performance And Major Retention?

John Kevin Doyle
2011 Journal of College Teaching & Learning (TLC)  
Three years ago, due to a lower than desired success rate in our first major course, Introduction to Computer Programming (CS1), and a lower than desired proportion of students in CS1 selecting Computer Science or Computer Information Systems as their major, we introduced a new course, Introduction to Computer Science (CS0), and made it a prerequisite for CS1. It was therefore required of all prospective Computer Science majors and Computer Information Systems majors. Our intention was to
more » ... ention was to improve the subsequent performance of students in CS1, to reduce the proportion of students who withdrew from CS1, and to increase the proportion of CS1 students who became Computer Science or Computer Information Systems majors. This paper reports our progress on these measures. Our results show that after CS0 was introduced, students performed better in CS1 than before CS0 was introduced, and that this difference is statistically significant. The withdraw rate from CS1, among students who completed CS0, has been reduced. The proportion of students who performed well (earned a grade of A or B) in CS1 has been raised among students who completed CS0, and this difference is statistically significant. A higher proportion of students who completed both CS0 and CS1 declared Computer Science or Computer Information Systems majors, than before CS0 was introduced, and this difference is statistically significant. The proportion of students who performed well in CS1 and who declared Computer Science or Computer Information Systems majors was substantially raised, and this difference is statistically significant. We compare these results with previous papers on this topic, and conclude that the results are consistent, and the statistical significance of the results is improved by the larger sample sizes being analyzed.
doi:10.19030/tlc.v3i5.1717 fatcat:cs47klrkr5f5vmbxbifhs3lx2q