Carter, Janet, Efford, Nick, Jamieson, Stephan, Jenkins, Tony and White, Su
Taxing our Best Students.
ITALICS, 7, (1), .
A signiﬁcant challenge that faces any teacher of introductory programming is the diversity of the class. At one extreme there will be students who have never programmed before, while at the other there will be students who have many years experience of programming. Handling this diversity is difficult. The temptation for the instructor is often to focus on the novice group and to assume that the others will get by with minimal supervision. This is understandable, but it can be risky. There is a very real risk that the neglected group of experienced programmers become bored and disengage from the course. At the worst, they can lose motivation and fail or drop out altogether. This paper describes and presents the outcomes of a project aimed at challenging the more experienced programmers in four introductory programming classes at four different UK institutions. The project took the form of a competition in which students were asked to devise and solve a series of programming challenges.
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