Student misconceptions about finite state machines: Identify them in order to create a concept inventory

Julie Henry, Bruno Dumas, Andreea Vescan, Alexandra Maria Pasca

Research output: Contribution in Book/Catalog/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

A concept inventory (CI) is a standardized assessment tool designed to evaluate a student's understanding of the fundamental concepts of a topic. To create a CI, it is necessary to accurately identify these concepts, but also to identify how poorly students understand them. The aim of this paper is to present an approach used to identify misconceptions related to the concept of Finite State Machine (FSM). In the learning process, identifying the students' misconceptions, i.e., when they appear and how to efficiently correct them, are important aspects of the best learning outcome. Rather than measuring understanding at a specific point in the learning timeline, the CI can be administered to students several times over the course of the learning period to measure how students' understanding of concepts changes. This preliminary study is composed of two main steps. In the first step, four misconceptions were identified about FSM based on multi-year observations and teacher experiences. From these misconceptions, seven statements about FSM are specified. In the second step, a Likert scale questionnaire (composed of seven statements) was administered five times to students according to a specific schedule, allowing to measure the evolution of FSM understanding. A pre-questionnaire is used to determine the students' misconceptions about the FSM concept, based on their learning (self-learning or from previous courses). This measure, which is the starting point of this preliminary study, makes it possible to highlight the changes in the students' positioning in relation to the statements provided and to link these changes to the teaching interventions. Thus, changes are clearly observable after the two theoretical classes, and stabilization is devoted after the delivery of the lab work.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEASEAI 2022
Subtitle of host publication Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on Education through Advanced Software Engineering and Artificial Intelligence, co-located with ESEC/FSE 2022
EditorsAndreea Vescan, Camelia Serban, Julie Henry, Upsorn Praphamontripong
PublisherACM Press
Pages2-9
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450394536
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2022
Event4th International Workshop on Education through Advanced Software Engineering and Artificial Intelligence, EASEAI 2022, co-located with ESEC/FSE 2022 - Virtual, Online, Singapore
Duration: 18 Nov 2022 → …

Publication series

NameEASEAI 2022 - Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on Education through Advanced Software Engineering and Artificial Intelligence, co-located with ESEC/FSE 2022

Conference

Conference4th International Workshop on Education through Advanced Software Engineering and Artificial Intelligence, EASEAI 2022, co-located with ESEC/FSE 2022
Country/TerritorySingapore
CityVirtual, Online
Period18/11/22 → …

Keywords

  • Computer science education
  • concept inventory
  • distributed systems
  • learning outcomes assessment process
  • misconceptions
  • monitoring learning progress assessment
  • software engineering

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