Since nobody else has replied yet, and you say it's urgent:
Mathematical and logical skills, yes. But I really don't think you
need to do more than ask them what educational qualifications they have.
Previous programming experience - the best criterion might be number
of languages known, but if you're working at a lower level then your
suggestions are fine - loops and conditionals and function definitions.
linguistics, no (plenty of good computer scientists whose native
language is English aren't good at spelling and punctuation)
other domains - nothing good found so far.
There is very little that anyone can do that will predict specific
success at learning to program, other than general tests of ability.
One other thing I would recommend is a test of self-efficacy. Someone
else must know more about testing that than I do. Self-efficacy means,
roughly, believing in your own ability; there's evidence that people
who believe in themselves do better than people who don't.
There are people on this list who know a whole lot more about this
than I do. If they speak up, believe what they say, not what I said.
On 18 Mar 2011, at 14:40, Stefano Federici wrote:
I want to thank you the list for the precious suggestions about the
evaluation of programming environments.
Now I have an urgent need to know which (if any) are the specific
tests that would allow me to group students that have an inclination
to programming from students that have so such an inclination, and
students that already know how to program a computer from students
that have never tried to program a computer.
I can imagine that I have to test their mathematical and logical
skills. I can check if they have previous knowledge about
programming and programming languages. But should I check if they
have good knowledge about specific areas of linguistics, such as,
e.g., syntax? Are there other domains that may be relevent for an
individual so to understand in advance if they have an inclination
to computer programming?
Going in more detail:
- which are the mathematical and logical skills I have to evaluate?
I can imagine fractions, series, simple equations, geometrical
analogies, problem solving, truth tables
- which are the programming knowledge I should pre-evaluate? I can
imagine variables, loops, conditionals, function definition
- maybe even the following skills in linguistics can be of help:
phrase understanding, knowledge of punctuation
Are there other domains/skills I could/should check? Which are the
specific tests that can allow me to evaluate their relevant skills?
Thanks a lot in advance
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