Survey for Students
posted by: mcrocker
At the start of the semester, I gave a survey to the Juniors at Trinity. In this survey were questions about algorithmic thinking, questions about previous computer programming experience, questions about friends or family members who are scientists, and the now popular “attitude towards scientist” word-selection question. You know, the one where students are asked to circle 5 words that best describe how you view scientists.
I found that only very few of the students circled negative words about scientists. Perhaps I did not choose a very good word set, or perhaps the students at Trinity already have a more realistic view of scientists (not the standard media-influenced image). It is also entirely possible that I have a mistaken view of how the general public views scientists.
The students did very well on the algorithmic thinking part of the survey. The questions were designed to see if the students could evaluate actions that occur in a certain order and give the correct final result. I wonder if the questions were too easy, or if algorithmic thinking is not that difficult, or if the students were already good at that for some reason. Now that we are teaching the students to create functions in Alice (and about to get into MatLab), I wonder if having questions about abstraction (which is what functions do) would be worth having on the next survey.