On the Domain-Specificity of Mindsets: The Relationship Between Aptitude Beliefs and Programming Practice

Scott, Michael and Ghinea, Gheorghita (2014) On the Domain-Specificity of Mindsets: The Relationship Between Aptitude Beliefs and Programming Practice. IEEE Transactions on Education, 57 (3). pp. 169-174. ISSN 0018-9359

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Abstract / Summary

Deliberate practice is important in many areas of learning, including that of learning to program computers. However, beliefs about the nature of personal traits, known as mindsets, can have a profound impact on such practice. Previous research has shown that those with a fixed mindset believe their traits cannot change; they tend to reduce their level of practice when they encounter difficulty. In contrast, those with the growth mindset believe their traits are flexible; they tend to maintain regular practice despite the level of difficulty. However, focusing on mindset as a single construct focused on intelligence may not be appropriate in the field of computer programming. Exploring this notion, a self-belief survey was distributed to undergraduate software engineering students. It revealed that beliefs about intelligence and programming aptitude formed two distinct constructs. Furthermore, the mindset for programming aptitude had greater utility in predicting software development practice, and a follow-up survey showed that it became more fixed throughout instruction. Thus educators should consider the role of programming-specific beliefs in the design and evaluation of introductory courses in software engineering. In particular, they need to situate and contextualize the growth messages that motivate students who experience early setbacks.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: 10.1109/TE.2013.2288700
ISSN: 0018-9359
Subjects: Computer Science, Information & General Works
Education
Courses by Department: The School of Film & Television > Games and Animation
Depositing User: Michael Scott
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2015 14:46
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 16:06
URI: http://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/1634

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