Evaluation of source code with item response theory

Marc Berges, Peter Hubwieser

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

The analysis of source code produced by novice programmers could provide interesting insights into their learning progress, particularly in introductory programming courses. Yet, as the programming ability of a person is assumed to be quite complex, it is not likely that it would be observable directly in its total. Instead, we regard those abilities as latent psychometric constructs and apply the methodology of item response theory (IRT) to assess their manifestations. In preparatory work, we had identified a list of items that represent the central concepts of object-oriented programming. In this paper we propose a methodology that allows the evaluation of coding abilities by analyzing the application of those concepts. We demonstrate this methodology by exemplarily analyzing source code that was produced during programming projects. The results provide interesting information about the difficulty of the concepts' application and the distribution of the respective coding abilities among the students.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationITiCSE 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages51-56
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450334402
DOIs
StatePublished - 22 Jun 2015
Event20th ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, ITiCSE 2015 - Vilnius, Lithuania
Duration: 4 Jul 20158 Jul 2015

Publication series

NameAnnual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, ITiCSE
Volume2015-June
ISSN (Print)1942-647X

Conference

Conference20th ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, ITiCSE 2015
Country/TerritoryLithuania
CityVilnius
Period4/07/158/07/15

Keywords

  • Code analysis
  • Item-response theory
  • Programming novices

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