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Long-Term Effects of Partner Programming in an Introductory Computer Science Sequence (Work in Progress)

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Software Engineering Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Software Engineering Constituent Committee

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Paper Authors


Andrew DeOrio University of Michigan Orcid 16x16

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Andrew DeOrio is a lecturer at the University of Michigan. His research interests are in ensuring the correctness of computer systems, including medical devices, internet of things devices, and digital hardware. In addition to teaching software and hardware courses, he teaches Creative Process and works with students on technology-driven creative projects.

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Andrew Giugliano University of Michigan

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Andrew Giugliano is a student at the University of Michigan. His research interests are in Computer Science pedagogy. He is an experienced student instructor.

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Computer scientists often work in teams on complex software projects and their education often includes group work or pair programming. In the literature, group work and pair programming have been shown to improve student learning outcomes. For example, students programming in pairs have been shown to produce better programs and have similar exam scores during the same semester. In this paper, we explore the impact of student partnerships in introductory programming projects on future student performance in subsequent courses.

We examine the data from 2,234 students enrolled in introductory computer science courses at a major public research institution, including participation in group work and performance in two different courses. The first is a second-semester CS2 programming and introductory data structures course, with 4 programming projects and 2 exams. During this course, some students worked in partnerships while others worked alone. Students then advanced to a CS3 course, which covers data structures and algorithms. This course also consists of 4 independent programming projects and 2 exams. Both courses are part of the core computer science curriculum for all computer science majors and minors, and are considered gateway courses to specialized upper level courses.

In our results, we observed an association between student partnerships and increased project performance during the same semester, confirming the observations of prior work. When examining student performance in the following CS course, our strongest statistically significant association was between students in the lowest GPA quartile and improved project scores.

DeOrio, A., & Giugliano, A. (2016, June), Long-Term Effects of Partner Programming in an Introductory Computer Science Sequence (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25574

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