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

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Wed Oct 15 09:44:52 EDT 2008

On Oct 15, 2008, at 9:12 AM, Stephen Bloch wrote:

> 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?

I am not Shriram but I will say that the LATIN test involved 16,000  
students. -- Matthias

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