Strategies that students use to trace code: an analysis based in grounded theory

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Oct 2005
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How do beginning students approach problems which require them to read and understand code? We report on a Grounded Theory-based analysis of student transcripts from 12 institutions where students were asked to 'think aloud' when solving such problems. We identify 19 strategies used by students. Primary results are that all students employ a range of strategies, there were (in total) many different strategies that were applied, students use multiple strategies on each individual problem, students applied different strategies to different types of questions, and students often applied strategies poorly. We show that strategies conform with existing education theories including Bloom's Taxonomy and the Approaches to Study Inventory. Additionally, we discuss emergent theories developed through a card sort process.