Exploring the value of student self-evaluation in introductory programming

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Programming teachers have a strong need for easy-to-use instruments that provide reliable and pedagogically useful insights into student learning. Currently, no validated tools exist for rapidly assessing student understanding of basic programming knowledge. Concept inventories and the SCS1 questionnaire can offer great benefits; this article explores the additional value that may be gained from relatively simple self-evaluation metrics. We apply a lightweight self-evaluation instrument (SEI) in an introductory programming course and compare the results to existing performance measures, such as examination grades and the SCS1. We find that the SEI has a similar correlation with a program-writing examination as the SCS1 does, although both instruments correlate only moderately with the examination and each other. Furthermore, students are much more likely to voluntarily answer the lightweight SEI than SCS1. Overall, our results suggest that both the SEI and other instruments need to be greatly improved and outline future work towards that end.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICER 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450361859
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2019
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventACM Conference on International Computing Education Research - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 12 Aug 201914 Aug 2019
Conference number: 15


ConferenceACM Conference on International Computing Education Research
Abbreviated titleICER
Internet address


  • Assessment
  • CS1
  • Introductory programming
  • Self-evaluation


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