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Using Programming Concept Inventory Assessments: Findings in a First-year Engineering Course

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

First-year Programs: Computation in the First Year

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37995

Download Count

89

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Paper Authors

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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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Ada 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 is currently pursuing a PhD in theoretical computer science at Ohio State.

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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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Abstract

This complete research paper examines the use of a programming concept inventory assessment in a first-year engineering course. At The Ohio State University, the first-year engineering program focuses on teaching introductory computer programming skills through MATLAB and C/C++. In recent years, this program has undergone curriculum changes which resulted in a desire to measure impacts on student learning. This led to a need for a validated assessment tool like a concept inventory which is used to assess students' conceptual understandings and misunderstandings. The use of concept inventories is common in STEM fields, specifically physics, and has been gaining popularity over the last 30 years. An existing language-independent programming concept inventory, SCS1, was replicated to create a MATLAB specific version (MCS1) in 2019-2020. Both the language-independent and MATLAB-specific assessment were given to students in autumn 2019 at this university. Because this assessment is given in a course with students with a wide range of programming experiences and different demographics, it was helpful to investigate the student results to see what differences exist in this population. This paper examines the demographic and prior programming experience information collected during the assessment, focusing on prior high school computer science experience, self-identified programming skill, gender, and honors vs. standard courses. Using independent samples t-tests, it was found that students who took a computer science course in high school were more confident in their skills but did not earn significantly higher scores on the assessments. While the average self-reported skill level for women was lower than that of men, there was no significant difference in assessment scores. Finally, it was also found that honors students performed significantly better on the assessments than standard students, however those differences are likely related to the extra programming instruction that those students received. The goal of this study is to provide insight into the programming skills of first-year engineering students with a variety of prior experience and perceived ability.

Kecskemety, K. M., & Barach, A., & Jenkins, C., & Gunawardena, S. S. (2021, July), Using Programming Concept Inventory Assessments: Findings in a First-year Engineering Course Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37995

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