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Measuring Formative Learning Behaviors of Introductory Statistical Programming in R via Content Clustering


Understanding student learning is an open problem in the teaching of introductory statistical programming. Formative learning is observed when analyzing the

interaction between the learning environment and the student. This can be operationalized by viewing how students respond to the error messages they receive

while programming. Current California Common Core State Standards: Mathematics

(CA CCSSM) highlight perseverance as an overarching habit of a productive

mathematical thinker. Perseverance can be measured as a type of formative

learning by measuring the time and attempts that students use to correct errors.

The MOBILIZE project promotes statistical programming at the high school level

in the Los Angeles Unied School District while following the CA CCSSM. Logs

of high school student statistical programming during the 2013-2014 school year

were collected along with the errors that occurred. Using these logs, error blocks

were formed that follow a student's interaction with an error message. With the

error blocks we were able to observe perseverance by students on multiple days

of curriculum. Our findings suggest that there was an increase in perseverance,

because students increased in time spent and attempts made to correct an error

as the number of days of programming curriculum increased. Additionally, students who showed more perseverance were more likely to eventually fix an error.

Descriptive variables were explored to provide background for the variation in

student programming errors.

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