The impact of Pascal education on debugging skill

Dan N. Stone, Eleanor W. Jordan, M. Keith Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Education in the Pascal programming language has been touted as a means of learning structured programming principles. This paper reports the results of two experiments that tested the effect of Pascal education on the debugging skills of novice programmers under timed test conditions. Results of both experiments indicate (1) that Pascal education is a better predictor of debugging performance than major, previous COBOL education, number of computer courses taken, or professional programming experience, and (2) that novice programmers who have studied Pascal demonstrate superior debugging performance regardless of program structure. Measures of program comprehension used in Experiment Two suggest that Pascal education may improve debugging performance by increasing the comprehension of program goals and plans. These results suggest that the value of structured programming techniques may be realized more in the programmer's way of thinking about a program than in the creation of a structured program per se.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-95
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Man-Machine Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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