CS1: Intrinsic Motivation, Self-Efficacy, and Effort


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This research investigates university students' success in their first programming course (CS1) in relation to their motivation, mathematical ability, programming self-efficacy, and initial goal setting. To our knowledge, these constructs have not been measured in a single study before in the Finnish context. The selection of the constructs is in line with the statistical model that predicts student performance ("PreSS") (Quille and Bergin, 2018). The constructs are compared with var ious demographic and background variables, such as study major, prior programming experience, and average weekly working hours. Some of the main results of this study are as follows: (1) stu dents generally entered with a high interest in programming and high motivation, but these factors did not increase during the course, i.e., interest in programming did not increase. (2) Having prior experience yielded higher initial programming self-efficacy, grade expectations, and spending less time on tasks, but not better grades (although worse neither). While these re-sults can be seen as preliminary (and alarming in some parts), they give rise to future research for investigating possible expectation-performance gaps in CS1 and later CS studies. As our dataset accumulates, we also hope to be able to construct a valid success prediction model.
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