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 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%. In order to address this situation, this study investigates the relationship between the cognitive ability of students and the types of errors made in a programming examination. A standard test was used to classify students according to cognitive ability. The classification is based on the Piagetian framework for cognitive development. A qualitative theoretical framework for error analysis, developed by Naidoo (1996), is used to classify errors made by students in a programming examination. The results do not show a discernable difference in the frequency of errors made by students in the different cognitive groups. However, there is significance about the types of errors made by the different cognitive groupings.
|Keywords:||Computer, Programming, Errors, Cognition|
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built-in environment, Durban University of Technology, Durban, KwaZuluNatal, South Africa
Lecturer, Computer Science, University of KwaZuluNatal, Pietermaritzberg, KwaZuluNatal, South Africa
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