nix nix nix Re: [plt-scheme] Re: HTDP - evidently not for everyone.

From: John Clements (clements at
Date: Thu Feb 11 12:46:39 EST 2010

On Feb 10, 2010, at 10:49 PM, wooks wrote:
> I'd just like to set your "objections" (can I call them that) against
> what I think the paper actually claims.
>> From the Abstract
> "We have found a test for programming aptitude, of which we give
> details. We can predict success or failure even before students have
> had any contact with any programming language with very high accuracy,
> and by testing with the same instrument after a few weeks of exposure,
> with extreme accuracy. We present experimental evidence to support our
> claim. We point out that programming teaching is useless for those who
> are bound to fail and pointless for those who are certain to succeed.

Wait wait wait... this is *that* paper?

Here's the abstract of a later paper of his:

Abstract: Learning to program is notoriously dicult. Substantial failure rates plague introductory programming courses the world over, and have increased rather than decreased over the years. Despite a great deal of research into teaching methods and student responses, there have been to date no strong predictors of success in learning to program. Two years ago we appeared to have discovered an exciting and enigmatic new predictor of success in a first programming course. We now report that after six experiments, involving more than 500 students at six institutions in three countries, the predictive effect of our test has failed to live up to that early promise. We discuss the strength of the effects that have been observed and the reasons for some apparent failures of prediction.

Or, put differently: "looks like this result doesn't stand up."

this is from:

Apologies if this later paper's already's been mentioned.

John Clements

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