Learning to program is notoriously difficult. Substantial failure rates plague introductory programming courses the world over, and have increased rather than decreased over the years. Despite a great deal of research into teaching methods and student responses, there have been to date no strong predictors of success in learning to program. Two years ago we appeared to have discovered an exciting and enigmatic new predictor of success in a first programming course. We now report that after six experiments, involving more than 500 students at six institutions in three countries, the predictive effect of our test has failed to live up to that early promise. We discuss the strength of the effects that have been observed and the reasons for some apparent failures of prediction.
Tenth Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE2008). Computing Education 2008: Proceedings of the Tenth Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE2008) (Wollongong, N.S.W. 22-25 January, 2008) p. 53-61