Measuring Programming Ability for Novice Programmers

Xue Wang,
Yong Wang,
Fei Yang,
Wenge Le,
Shouhang Wang,


Coding is a key activity in the software development process and a programmer’s programming ability determines the software quality. Different from professional programmers, novice programmers usually refers to programmers who have learned a programming language for about three years. At this stage, measuring their programming ability is of great significance to improve their programming abilities. In previous work, researchers have proposed a variety of ways to measure programming ability for professional programmers. We set out to find out the best way to measure novice programming ability. We first exacted a questionnaire from published comprehension experiments for measuring programming ability. Then, we performed control experiments to compare the answers to the questionnaire with their performance. We found that module number and the number of programming-related websites visited seem to be a reliable way to measure programming ability for novice programmers. Furthermore, we perform exploratory factor analysis to generate a model to verify the effectiveness of our findings.


Programming ability, Measurement, Novice programmers

Citation Format:
Xue Wang, Yong Wang, Fei Yang, Wenge Le, Shouhang Wang, "Measuring Programming Ability for Novice Programmers," Journal of Internet Technology, vol. 23, no. 3 , pp. 573-581, May. 2022.

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