The Tablet Game: An Embedded Assessment For Measuring Students' Programming Skill In App Inventor


Assessing students' learning of concepts in programming is an essential part of teaching computer science. We developed an assessment activity that measures students' skill in identifying programming structures used to create various behaviors in MIT App Inventor (AI). Called the Tablet Game, the assessment was implemented as interactive app on an Android device. Students interacted with elements on the screen, and then in a multiple-choice format, were asked to select which code-blocks would create those behaviors. We tested the Tablet Game in two week-long app development summer camps held with middle school students. Students completed the same assessment at the beginning and end of the week. Students also completed pre/post surveys which measured interest levels in computer science, gathered ethnographic data, and asked students to report on their prior programming experience. Each student's work on the Tablet Game was matched to that student's pre/post survey responses. Using data from 44 students, our results indicate that (1) students with high self-reported prior experience in App Inventor outperformed students with low prior experience on the Tablet Game pre-test, indicating that the assessment measures programming skill and (2) students with low prior experience matched the results of the high prior experience cohort in the post-test, indicating that the camp was successful in imparting AI programming skill. Both of these results are statistically significant. Further, (3) there were no statistically significant differences in the gender composition of the two experience cohorts, indicating that the camp was equally accessible to girls and boys.


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White paper
C. Abuah
D. Schilder
M. Sherman
F. Martin
Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges
Publication Year