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MCS1: A MATLAB Programming Concept Inventory for Assessing First-year Engineering Courses

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

First-year Programs: Core Skills

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

13

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34958

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34958

Download Count

32

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Paper Authors

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Ada E. Barach Ohio State University

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Ada recently graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering. Her undergraduate research was in coding education for first-year students. Ada will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Computer Science in the fall.

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Connor Jenkins Ohio State University

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Connor Jenkins is currently an undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at The Ohio State University. His engineering education research interests include first-year engineering, teaching assistant programs, and technical communication education methods.

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Serendipity S. Gunawardena Ohio State University

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Sery is an undergraduate researcher. She is pursuing a Computer Science & Engineering degree with a Psychology minor. She is from Athens, Ohio and currently resides in Dayton, Ohio. She is a Teaching Assistant for the Honors Fundamentals of Engineering Program and enjoys tutoring younger students. Outside of class, Sery likes calligraphy and playing the piano.

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Krista M. Kecskemety Ohio State University

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Krista Kecskemety is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. Krista received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering at The Ohio State University in 2006 and received her M.S. from Ohio State in 2007. In 2012, Krista completed her Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at Ohio State. Her engineering education research interests include investigating first-year engineering student experiences, faculty experiences, and the connection between the two.

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Abstract

This complete research paper discusses the development of a new MATLAB-specific concept inventory, called MCS1, for assessing foundational computer science concepts as well as the preliminary data analysis from a pilot test of MCS1. Concept inventories are typically multiple-choice assessments for evaluating student understanding of specific concepts and are used across various STEM fields. Few computer science concept inventories have been developed due to a unique set of challenges such as computer science's heavy reliance on syntax and notation. Though other computer science concept inventories exist, they are largely language-independent which has been shown to favor high-performing students. As a result, the First-Year Engineering (FYE) program at The Ohio State University does not have many tools to assess student comprehension of MATLAB programming skills, teaching methods, or course curricula. MCS1 is a replication of a previously validated language-independent concept inventory for foundational computer science, called SCS1, developed by Parker et. al. Think-aloud interviews were conducted to determine if revisions were necessary before giving the assessment to current FYE students. Preliminary validation has focused on comparing the new MCS1 to the existing SCS1 through a point biserial correlation test but has found a statistically significant difference between MCS1 and SCS1 scores. This indicates that MCS1 cannot be validated against SCS1 and an independent validation study for MCS1 is necessary.

Barach, A. E., & Jenkins, C., & Gunawardena, S. S., & Kecskemety, K. M. (2020, June), MCS1: A MATLAB Programming Concept Inventory for Assessing First-year Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34958

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