F1-FY4-2 - On the Differences in Time That Students Take to Write Solutions to Programming Problems

3. Research Full Paper
Fabian Fagerholm1 , Arto Hellas1
1 Aalto University

Full research paper---In this work, we study productivity differences in an introductory programming course. Focusing on a set of students who completed all programming assignments in the course, we quantify differences in productivity, measured through the time spent on completing the assignments. We focus both on the overall time needed to complete all programming assignments in the course, as well as on time spent on individual programming assignments. In addition, the effect of previous programming experience and difficulty of the programming assignment is considered. Our results show significant productivity differences between students. In addition, while programming experience influences productivity, a proportion of students who have never programmed before are faster in completing the programming assignments than students with considerable amounts of previous programming experience. Our results suggest that the classic credit-based or lecture hour based workload estimates of a course fit poorly to the whole course population in programming, suggesting that programming courses and training should be adjusted based on the participant.