Native language’s effect on Java compiler errors

Kyle Reestman, Brian Dorn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Novice student compilation behaviors are well documented by prior research, but those findings are derived from instructional contexts that are largely in English-dominant locales. Speakers of languages other than English face unique challenges while learning to program like partial localization of applications and programming language syntax based on English-only keywords. This study examines compiler errors of novice programming students from different native language backgrounds to explore potential differences in their error distributions relative to those in English dominant contexts. For example, it is plausible that students from non-English language backgrounds would experience more “unknown identifier” types of errors while programming with English keywords and API methods. Using data from the BlueJ Blackbox database, we analyzed error distributions for users based on country and language group characteristics. Statistical analysis showed a statistically significant difference in error distributions between native language groups; however, effect sizes were very weak indicating that the differences have little practical significance in terms of guiding either language or instructional design. However, these results may support drawing broader inferences from earlier Java compilation behavior studies to global contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICER 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages249-257
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781450361859
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 30 2019
Event15th Annual International Computing Education Research Conference, ICER 2019 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: Aug 12 2019Aug 14 2019

Publication series

NameICER 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research

Conference

Conference15th Annual International Computing Education Research Conference, ICER 2019
Country/TerritoryCanada
CityToronto
Period8/12/198/14/19

Keywords

  • Blackbox
  • Compiler error behavior
  • English as a second language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Education
  • Theoretical Computer Science

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