There has been recent discussion regarding the need to teach introductory computer concepts courses at the university level, assuming that students graduating from high school already possess a broad base of knowledge about computers. This paper focuses on a program of research aimed at measuring student knowledge before taking a concepts course, and assessing the value of the introductory computing course in the IS/IT curricula. The first phase of this research stream involves the assessment of prior mastery of computing concepts by students entering the introductory computing concepts course, in 2004 and again in 2013. While considerable variation in the knowledge of entering students is observed, the average student failed to demonstrate acceptable “proficiency” levels in any of 15 computing content area. These results suggest that there is ample opportunity for an introductory course to enhance student knowledge of computing concepts. The second phase of this investigation assesses the extent to which the introductory course succeeds in broadening the breadth and depth of student knowledge of computing concepts. It assesses the extent to which the introductory course assists students in achieving acceptable proficiency levels in each of 15 computing concepts content areas. It also assesses some degree of change that may be observed in the breadth and depth of student knowledge of computing concepts between course entry and course completion.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ronald-mackinnon/2/