Analyzing student performance and attitudes toward textual versus iconic programming languages
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Lin, Janet Mei-Chuen
Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)
In this study half of 52 sixth graders learned to program in MSWLogo and the other half in Drape. An analysis of students' test scores revealed that Drape (an iconic language) seemed to have a steeper learning curve than MSWLogo (a textual language). However, as students gradually became more familiar with either language, the difference in student performance narrowed. With respect to usability, students of the MSWLogo group made syntactic errors frequently, whereas students of the Drape group were often confused by icons that were not intuitively clear or icons that looked similar. No significant difference was found between the two groups in how much they enjoyed programming or if they would like to learn to program again. It was concluded that iconic programming languages might not be more suitable than textual languages for elementary school students.