PPIG 2006 - 18th Annual Workshop
A Competence Model for Object-Interaction in Introductory Programming
Jens Bennedsen, Carsten Schulte
Abstract: Assuming that understanding object-oriented programming requires the understanding of object-interaction, this article outlines the development of a theoretical model that provides a framework to assess a hierarchy of competences related to object-interaction. A newly developed test allows for an in-depth analysis of this hierarchy, including its relationship with other (e.g. more ‘traditional’) factors that impact students’ understanding of objectoriented programming. Based on a study at two learning institutions, we conclude that the proposed model is an effective tool for describing different competence levels. The analysis of how different factors influence students’ object-interaction skills shows a correlation between object-interaction and imperative programming, as well as self-efficacy; the correlation between object-interaction and math, however, was weak. We found that the degree of visibility of object-interaction in the program text is the most critical factor for understanding object-interaction. The analysis is followed by a discussion of the implications of the findings for teaching.