Language-independent conceptual "bugs" in novice programming

Abstract : This article argues for the existence of persistent conceptual "bugs" in how novices program and understand programs. These bugs are not specific to a given programming language, but appear to be language-independent. Furthermore, such bugs occur for novices from primary school to college age. Three different classes of bugs-parallelism, intentionality, and egocentrism - are identified, and exemplified through student errors. It is suggested that these classes of conceptual bugs are rooted in a "superbug", the default strategy that there is a hidden mind somewhere in the programming language that has intelligent interpretive powers.
Keywords : bugs
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Roy D. Pea. Language-independent conceptual "bugs" in novice programming. Journal educational computing research, 1986, 2(1), pp.25-36. ⟨hal-00190538⟩

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