June 16, 2002
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An Evaluation of Student Performance in an Introductory Programming Course with and without the Quantitative Analysis Prerequisite: A Piece of the Assessment Process
Eugenia Fernandez Purdue School of Engineering and Technology Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
Prerequisites are standard in any curriculum and serve as a measure of course preparedness. The sequencing of course prerequisites provides structure to a curriculum. ABET accreditation evaluation criteria require sequences of courses using a prerequisite structure be included in the curriculum. Thus, assessing the validity of course prerequisites can be an integral part of overall curriculum assessment. Measuring the effect of course prerequisites on student performance in subsequent courses is one way to test the effectiveness of course prerequisites and the validity of the curriculum’s structure.
Numerous studies have examined the effect of prerequisites on subsequent course performance, with mostly negative results. Marchal and Roberts found that grades for students who fulfilled the computer literacy prerequisite for a business communications course did not differ from students without the prerequisite1. Bashford studied student performance as they progressed through reading, English and mathematics course sequences2. Her results suggest that simply passing prerequisite courses does not guarantee that students will be successful in subsequent courses, although students who earned higher grades in the English and mathematics prerequisites earned higher grades in subsequent course than students who passed with a “C”. Wilson studied whether taking a math prerequisite course affected final grades in an introductory chemistry course and concluded that the math prerequisite was not a significant predictor of higher chemistry course grades3.
This paper investigates whether completion of a quantitative analysis (or its equivalent) course prerequisite affected students’ final course grades in an introductory programming course. It tests the assumption that students who took the prerequisite earned higher grades in the programming course than students who did not have the prerequisite. Final course grades are examined for students who completed the prerequisite, students who did not complete the prerequisite and students who took the prerequisite course concurrently with the programming course.
Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education
Fernandez, E. (2002, June), An Evaluation Of Student Performance In An Introductory Programming Course With And Without The Quantitative Analysis Prerequisite: A Piece Of The Assessment Process Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. https://peer.asee.org/10895
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