[plt-scheme] HTDP - evidently not for everyone.

From: Robby Findler (robby at eecs.northwestern.edu)
Date: Wed Feb 10 08:41:03 EST 2010

You know we can probably tell who has the programming gene if we spend
a little time correlating physical features to programming ability.
IMHO, we should probably start by measuring head shape: things like
the ratio of the circumference to the bridge of the nose's length and
the like.


On Wednesday, February 10, 2010, wooks <wookiz at hotmail.com> wrote:
> On Feb 10, 1:49 am, Shriram Krishnamurthi <s... at cs.brown.edu> wrote:
>> Finally, it is unclear what the point is.
>> Should we administer the
>> exam and toss out all the students who fail it?
> I took the point to be the last sentence in the abstract
> "We point out that programming teaching is useless for those who are
> bound to fail and pointless for those who are certain to succeed"
> It suggests the existence of a "programming gene" which determines
> which camp a person falls into.
> I absolutely agree that there are people for whom trying to teach
> programming is futile.  but the idea of not teaching those who have
> seems somewhat ridiculous.
>> That would certainly
>> be a good idea.  For that matter, we can clearly administer this exam
>> earlier (say at age 14 or 15, when students are old enough to clearly
>> understand the problem statement).  Should we suggest that students
>> who fail this (or a similar test) skip algebra entirely?  That way we
>> can save them from wasting their time in a technical discipline.  But
>> maybe one could find similar "predictive" tests for writing; maybe
>> those students should be excused from writing courses.  Even better:
>> it ought to be possible to find such a test for reading (after all,
>> natural languages are also meaningless formal systems with arbitrary
>> and inconsistent rules).  We could keep such students out of school
>> entirely, to save everyone's time!
> I share skepticism on the efficacy of the test they claim, but not on
> their conclusion that some people will never be able to program no
> matter how much effort you devote to teaching them. The biggest
> obstacle that I have observed is an inability to see that the problem
> you have presented them is an instance of one you've shown them before
> and hence how then to exploit this knowledge.
> In essence it is an inability to abstract - at least in the domain of
> programming problems.
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