A Study of the Effects on Attitude and Achievement of Mode of Processing in a Secondary School Course in Computer Programming
Moulds, William Joseph
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achievement of frequency of association with the computer and turnaround time in a beginning course in computer programming in the secondary school. The treatments frequency (F) and turn-around time (T) each existed at three levels. The frequency treatment involved the number of hours per semester the students were in direct association The three levels were: HO - one hour per semester with the computer. Hl - one hour per week per semester; and, H3 - three hours per week per semester. The second treatment, turn-around time, dealt with the time delay experienced by the student between submittal of his program deck and return of his printout. This treatment existed at the following three levels: PI-printouts returned on the same day as submittal of the program; PD-printouts returned in about 24 hours; and, PW-printouts returned in about one week. At the beginning of the course, each student was administered the Aptitude Test for Programming Personnel to determine his aptitude in programming and to serve as a covariate in the analysis of covariance, A multiple choice final examination was administered to all students at the end of the 16 week semester to test their understanding of FORTRAN programming concepts. A 3 x 3 analysis of covariance design, using the aptitude scores for covariate, was used to analyze the results. This analysis served as the basis for conclusions to the following research hypotheses. 1. More frequent access to the computer increases performance. 2. Immediacy of feedback increases student achievement. The first hypothesis is supported by the findings of this experiment. Students in direct association with the computer most frequently (three hours per week) scored significantly higher on the final examination at the .05 level than students in either of the other two levels of this treatment. The second hypothesis is also supported by the findings. Students who received their printouts in less than one day scored significantly higher at the .05 level on the final examination than students receiving their printouts in about one day. Those receiving their printouts in about one week scored significantly lower than either of the other two groups. The effects on attitude were tested using a Likert-type scaled instrument. Analysis of covariance, using the aptitude score as covariate on a 3 x 3 design, was used to analyze the results which served as the basis for conclusions concerning the following research hypotheses. 3. More frequent access to the computer results in a more positive attitude by the students toward the computer. 4. Immediacy of feedback of computer programs results in a more positive attitude by the students toward the computer. The third hypothesis is not supported by the findings of this experiment. Students who were in the direct association with the computer three hours per week scored significantly lower at the .05 level on the attitude instrument than students who were in the one hour per semester group. The fourth hypothesis is not supported by the findings of this experiment. These conclusions are discussed in terms of earlier research in the effects of mode of processing on student learning of programming concepts and feedback schedules. In addition, suggestions for further research are offered.