Title

Directing Incoming CS Students to an Appropriate Introductory Computer Science Course

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

12-4-2020

Department

Department of Computer Science

Abstract

Full Paper. Research. We discuss possible ways to direct students to right level of introductory programming. While many schools offer college preparatory or advanced placement courses in computing, there is still, unfortunately, a large part of the college-ready population that has no opportunity to learn computing at all before they arrive. Regulation of CS education at the state/province or national level is still rare (but growing). Thus incoming students possess a wide range of skills and knowledge. When coupled with increasing enrollments, this diversity of experience can result in courses having large numbers of both absolute beginners and seasoned coders. Such courses are difficult to teach, intimidate novice students, and bore those with more experience. This can result in low engagement and retention.Unlike mathematics and language arts, introductory courses in CS vary widely from one institution to another in both conceptual material and programming language used. A standard point of entry to college mathematics is a calculus course, with some students instead starting earlier with pre-calculus or an algebra refresher, and others starting out in the second-term calculus course. There is rarely a concern about student skill being hidden by notational or other language differences, because the language of mathematics is close to universal. Similarly, freshman language arts courses in reading and/or writing assume a certain level of skill and maturity of comprehension and expressiveness in the target language; otherwise remedial courses are provided.We investigate placement of incoming first year students into appropriate introductory computer science courses at higher education institutions where there is more than one choice of first course. The goal is to determine the best way to decide which first course would be the most helpful for each student.

Publisher's Statement

© 2020 IEEE. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1109/FIE44824.2020.9274037

Publication Title

Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE

ISBN

9781728189611

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