The fundamental concepts of programming are essential to any Computer Science course yet, these concepts can appear significantly more abstract than students have encountered in the past. These abstract concepts can become so daunting to students, that they experience 'programming shock' during their first encounter with programming, as they attempt to decipher a number of concepts, error messages and unfamiliar syntax all at once. Once a student encounters programming shock, it can be extremely disheartening and if not overcome, can sometimes result in a student dropping out from a course. Through the use of specifically designed aptitude tests conducted with first year Computing students, this investigation has provided sufficient evidence to prove a link between mental model usage and student performance in an introductory programming module, as well as enabling the development of the Programming Thought Process (PTP) model, which can be used to identify students most in need of support.
- computer science