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The Inclusion of Python as Introductory Computer Programming in the Preparatory Year of Higher Education: Modeling for Students’ Perceptions


Wafaa Alsaggaf, Hanan Baaqeel, Samar Alkhuraiji, Hani Brdesee


Vol. 22  No. 3  pp. 565-574


Programming is one of the most important subjects that can logically assist with analytical thinking and finding solutions to problems. This, in turn, allows students at the undergraduate level to im-prove their critical thinking in line with the level of study at that stage. It is well known that ac-quiring programming skills is not easy, especially for novice programmers. This study aimed to study, for the first time, the inclusion of the Python programming language in the preparatory year for one of the largest univers0ities in Saudi Arabia. The main objective of this study was to investigate the factors that may affect the process of learning computer programming, and the factors that may help predict the level of students’ knowledge of programming skills. For the purpose of this research, an exploratory questionnaire was designed and distributed to the first batch of students for this course, and was analyzed using several statistical methods. This study presents the results by discussing the factors that may affect the process of learning programming, the most important of which were the difference in the prior knowledge of programming at the general education stage, the looping concept, and problem-solving skills. Laboratory assignments and recorded lectures were found to be among the most important factors that may help to predict a high level of performance for students. We intend to implement some of the proposed solutions from this study and compare them with subsequent studies at a future stage.


Python; data analysis; introductory programming; computer programming education; higher education; preparatory year; novice programmers