An introduction to program comprehension for computer science educators

Carsten Schulte, Tony Clear, Teresa Busjahn, Ahmad Taherkhani, James Paterson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

55 Citations (Scopus)


The area of program comprehension comprises a vast body of literature, with numerous conflicting models having been proposed. Models are typically grounded in experimental studies mostly involving experienced programmers. The question of how to relate this material to the teaching and learning of programming for novices has proven challenging for many researchers. In this critical review from a computer science educational perspective, the authors compare and contrast the way in which different models conceptualize program comprehension. This provides new insights into learning issues such as content, sequence, learning obstacles, effective learning tasks and teaching methods, as well as into the assessment of learning.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2010 ITiCSE working group reports (ITiCSE-WGR '10)
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9781450306775
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • program comprehension
  • computer science education


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