Asee peer logo

Impact of Extra Credit for Practice Questions on Programming Students’ Participation and Performance

Download Paper |


2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

COED Programming Education 2: Instructional Approaches

Tagged Division

Computers in Education Division (COED)

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Sarah Rajkumari Jayasekaran University of Florida

visit author page

Sarah Jayasekaran (Dr J) is an instructional assistant professor at the University of Florida. She has a Master's in Structural Engineering and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida (UF). She is originally from the city of Chennai, India. Dr. J came to the United States to pursue her passion for teaching. Her research interest includes smart cities, smart concepts in education, student retention, and curriculum development.

visit author page

author page

Umer Farooq


Saira Anwar Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Saira Anwar is an Assistant Professor at Department of Multidisciplinary Engineering, Texas A &M University. Dr. Anwar has over 13 years of teaching experience, primarily in the disciplines of engineering education, computer science and software engineering. Her research focuses on studying the unique contribution of different instructional strategies on students' learning and motivation. Also, she is interested in designing interventions that help in understanding conceptually hard concepts in STEM courses. Dr. Anwar is the recipient of the 2020 outstanding researcher award by the School of Engineering Education, Purdue University. Also, she was the recipient of the "President of Pakistan Merit and Talent Scholarship" for her undergraduate studies.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The introductory programming courses are intrinsically hard due to many reasons including problem-solving, logical reasoning, and syntax requirements. Due to these hard concepts, many students struggle, stay behind in courses, or drop out completely causing retention issues. One probable way that students could overcome the challenges is rooted in increasing students' engagement with the course by providing them with ample practice options. Knowing the prevalent issues, instructors constantly introduce innovative ways to engage students and inspire them to practice more and more. Although these additional practice venues could allow the students to explore problem-solving techniques, develop critical thinking, and improve programming skills, not all the time are they mandatory. Oftentimes, the instructors use the practice questions to provide an opportunity to explore programming problems outside of regular class work, with students’ voluntary participation. With this paper, we hypothesize that introducing credit, specifically additional or extra credit will motivate students to solve and consider these practice questions as an added venue for learning. Specifically, we will examine the relationship between extra credits offered and their impact on students' participation in the practice questions and overall impact on students' performances in an introductory programming course. The programming course comprises 15 modules, and each module covers one programming construct. In this paper, we will answer the research questions 1) How do extra credit influence students’ participation in programming and problem-solving practice questions? How does participation in practice questions impact students’ performance during exams in a programming course? Using a quasi-experimental research design, we evaluate how extra credit influences students’ participation and performance. Using the data from two semesters each comprising of 49 students, we introduced the same practice questions for both students. However, in the first semester students (control group) were provided practice questions with no extra credit, while students in the second semester (intervention group) had the option to earn extra credit for their participation in the practice questions. In both semesters practice questions were given for 10 modules covering important programming constructs. For this study, we recorded students' successful participation in each module’s practice questions. Using a scoring system, if students correctly attempted 40% of practice questions, they were assigned one for successful participation and zero otherwise. To answer the research question1, we used a t-test to examine the mean difference between the control group and intervention groups. Additionally, for the research question2, we used regression analysis to determine the relationship between students’ participation and their performance in both exams while accounting for their experiment condition (control vs. intervention group). In the full paper, we will discuss the results of the analysis, and provide an exemplary explanation of the role of extra credit on students’ performance for instructors and researchers. Also, we will discuss the implications and directions for future work.

Jayasekaran, S. R., & Farooq, U., & Anwar, S. (2023, June), Impact of Extra Credit for Practice Questions on Programming Students’ Participation and Performance Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--43888

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2023 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015