The effect of team programming on student achievement in COBOL instruction
As computing systems, technology and the use thereof become more mature, new skills are being suggested for improving computer programming efficiency. Two of these skills are the use of structured programming and team programming. The subjects of this study of the effect of team programming were students enrolled in an introductory COBOL programming course at the University of Wisconsin--La Crosse during the Spring and Fall semesters of 1980. The subjects were divided into a control group who wrote programs in the traditional individualized manner and an experimental group who wrote programs in teams of three. Both groups used structured programming techniques. Student achievement was measured in the areas of knowledge of grammatical structure and syntax rules, the ability to read programs, and the ability to write programs. Data collected from the students included the score on the pretest, the average programming score, the score on the final exam, and the course grade;Results of the study indicate that those students involved in team programming had significantly better programming scores than the control group, showed moderately lower achievement in the areas of knowledge of grammatical structure and syntax, and showed no difference in achievement in the ability to read programs or in the ability to write programs. Those students involved in team programming not only had better programming scores but spent less time than those students working individually;Based on this study, it appears that the needs of industry (skill development in the area of team programming) can possibly be met without detracting from the student's development of reading and writing abilities in traditional courses. However, team programming may detract from the student's learning of syntax and the development of reading abilities.