Kolikant, Y. B. D., & Pollack, S. (2004). Establishing computer science professional norms among high-school students. Computer Science Education, 14(1), 21-35.


Type: Empirical

Purpose: "Norms govern the criteria by which students decide what is good and what is not good, and align their learning trajectories accordingly... we describe a case study, portraying the teacher’s role as a norms facilitator and illustrating the students’ adjustment to the instructional activities" (p. 21).

Findings: "We found that the high-school students’ norm is to produce working, but not necessarily error-free, programs and to argue for their correctness solely on the basis of a few executions. Therefore, they prefer working directly with the computer, refining an initial idea iteratively by trial and error" (p. 21). "In addition, providing explanations and justifications for their work was found to be foreign to the students. From the students’ viewpoint, ‘‘it works’’ is a convincing argument" (p. 33).

Recommendations: "To change this norm, instruction should provide a fertile environment for the growth of professional norms as an integral part of computer science training. Specifically, we suggest integrating explanatory proofs as a means of establishing norms of precision in the students’ practices and methods of communication" (p. 21).


Sample Size: 32

Participant Type: Students

Notes: Two groups of 16 students.