COGNITIVE AND BEHAVIORAL CORRELATES OF SUCCESS IN A COMPUTER PROGRAMMING COURSE FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

GLORIA P TANNENBAUM, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship of success at learning computer programming with particular cognitive and behavioral characteristics of fifth grade computer programming students. Cognitive characteristics, along with academic achievement, were measured by two standardized tests, the Test of Cognitive Skills and the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills. Behavior was measured in two ways: classroom teachers completed selected items from the Burks' Behavior Rating Scales for the population being studied, and the observed behavior of a subgroup of children was quantified through use of a direct observation time sampling technique.^ Five hypotheses were tested, with computer programming achievement being the dependent variable in all cases. The first hypothesis stated that cognitive characteristics, academic achievement and teacher ratings of student behavior would not be significantly related to programming achievement. Hypotheses 2, 3 and 4 considered specific aspects of cognition, achievement and teacher ratings of behavior. The last hypotheses stated that behavioral variables directly observed in the computer classroom would not be related to programming achievement. The main statistical technique employed was step-wise multiple regression analysis. Results showed that while hypothesis 5 could not be rejected, all other hypotheses were rejected. When all variables were considered together, math achievement was the most highly predictive measure of computer programming achievement; in terms of cognitive skills, the ability to do pictorial analogies was most highly predictive, and the most predictive classroom behavior variable was the ability to pay attention. A supplementary finding was that behavioral characteristics commonly used to describe children with learning disabilities were perceived as very prevalent among a nondisabled population. Specific behaviors were inattentiveness, dependency and impulsivity.^ Study results indicate that academic achievement and cognitive correlates of computer programming success for children are similar to those previously found for adults. Classroom behavior, however, is not a significant predictor of success. The variables considered in this research were able to account for 60% of the variance in success; future research might further refine prediction of computer programming achievement. ^

Subject Area

Elementary education|Science education

Recommended Citation

TANNENBAUM, GLORIA P, "COGNITIVE AND BEHAVIORAL CORRELATES OF SUCCESS IN A COMPUTER PROGRAMMING COURSE FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS" (1985). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8600108.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8600108

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