[plt-scheme] Re: [plt-edu] Should computer programming be mandatory

From: Stephen Bloch (sbloch at adelphi.edu)
Date: Wed Oct 15 09:12:14 EDT 2008

On Oct 14, 2008, at 2:25 PM, Matthias Felleisen wrote:

> I recently exchanged email with a mathematics professor at BYU who  
> studies education. He had dug out large-scale  studies (involving  
> an entire school district in Indianapolis and part of a second  
> school district elsewhere) that compared high school students who  
> took course in English plus Latin with those who took only English  
> courses. In several standard tests on English, the English+Latin  
> students outscored the English-only students by leaps and bounds.  
> -- The effect carries over to other __formal__ instruction on  
> second languages, but it isn't as large. (I felt pretty good after  
> reading his write-up, because I had defended the study of a second  
> language in the Houston school district many times on this basis,  
> but had always been rejected.) --
> If given the chance, I'd love to prove this conjecture for  
> TeachScheme! at the same scale.

So would I.  The obvious people to address it are at Brown, where  
they have two interchangeable beginning-programming sequences, one  
functional-first and one objects-first, and they have enough students  
to (potentially) get statistically significant results.  I don't have  
the sample size, and (as of a few weeks ago) I don't have the  
opportunity to teach functional-first to students who are going on to  
subsequent programming courses.

So, Shriram, how about it?  How difficult would it be to get and  
analyze the data?

Stephen Bloch
sbloch at adelphi.edu

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