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Describing the What and Why of Students’ Difficulties in Boolean Logic

Describing the What and Why of Students’ Difficulties in Boolean Logic Describing the What and Why of Students ™ Dif culties in Boolean Logic GEOFFREY L. HERMAN and MICHAEL C. LOUI, University of Illinois at Urbana “Champaign LISA KACZMARCZYK, Educational Researcher and Consultant CRAIG ZILLES, University of Illinois at Urbana “Champaign The ability to reason with formal logic is a foundational skill for computer scientists and computer engineers that scaffolds the abilities to design, debug, and optimize. By interviewing students about their understanding of propositional logic and their ability to translate from English speci cations to Boolean expressions, we characterized common misconceptions and novice problem-solving processes of students who had recently completed a digital logic design class. We present these results and discuss their implications for instruction and the development of pedagogical assessment tools known as concept inventories. Categories and Subject Descriptors: K.3.2 [Computers and Education]: Computer and Information Science Education ”Computer science education; F4.1 [Mathematical Logic and Formal Languages]: Mathematical Logic; B.6 [Logic Design]: General Terms: Human Factors, Languages, Veri cation Additional Key Words and Phrases: Discrete math, digital logic, formal logic, misconceptions, concept inventory ACM Reference Format: Herman, G. L., Loui, M. C., Kaczmarczyk, L., and Zilles, C. 2012. Describing the what and why of students ™ http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE) Association for Computing Machinery

Describing the What and Why of Students’ Difficulties in Boolean Logic

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Publisher
Association for Computing Machinery
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by ACM Inc.
ISSN
1946-6226
DOI
10.1145/2133797.2133800
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Describing the What and Why of Students ™ Dif culties in Boolean Logic GEOFFREY L. HERMAN and MICHAEL C. LOUI, University of Illinois at Urbana “Champaign LISA KACZMARCZYK, Educational Researcher and Consultant CRAIG ZILLES, University of Illinois at Urbana “Champaign The ability to reason with formal logic is a foundational skill for computer scientists and computer engineers that scaffolds the abilities to design, debug, and optimize. By interviewing students about their understanding of propositional logic and their ability to translate from English speci cations to Boolean expressions, we characterized common misconceptions and novice problem-solving processes of students who had recently completed a digital logic design class. We present these results and discuss their implications for instruction and the development of pedagogical assessment tools known as concept inventories. Categories and Subject Descriptors: K.3.2 [Computers and Education]: Computer and Information Science Education ”Computer science education; F4.1 [Mathematical Logic and Formal Languages]: Mathematical Logic; B.6 [Logic Design]: General Terms: Human Factors, Languages, Veri cation Additional Key Words and Phrases: Discrete math, digital logic, formal logic, misconceptions, concept inventory ACM Reference Format: Herman, G. L., Loui, M. C., Kaczmarczyk, L., and Zilles, C. 2012. Describing the what and why of students ™

Journal

ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE)Association for Computing Machinery

Published: Mar 1, 2012

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