Werner, L., Denner, J., & Campe, S. (2015). Children programming games: a strategy for measuring computational learning. ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE), 14(4), 24.


Type: Empirical

Purpose: "This article reports the results of a study of the relationship of computer game programming to computational learning (CL). The results contribute to the growing body of knowledge about how to define and measure CL among children by proposing a new concept, Game Computational Sophistication (GCS). ... The study contributes to an understanding of what CL looks like in middle school, how to assess it, and how game-programming activities might promote CL." (p. 1).

Findings: "Findings suggest that students’ games exhibited a range of GCS: programs composed of sequences of simple programming constructs; programs composed of programming constructs, some of which are used to implement higher-order patterns; and programs composed of game mechanics built from combinations of patterns “glued” together with simple programming constructs." (p. 1)



Sample Size: 325

Participant Type: Students (with a range of prior computer experience, who attended a voluntary technology class; in pairs or solo). Alice 2.2 or the Storytelling Alice programming environment was used to make games.

Notes: 325 students of age 11 and 12 were in the sample. 231 games programmed by them were analyzed.