Language Performance at High School and Success in First Year Computer Science


We describe the first part of a study investigating the usefulness of high school language results as a predictor of success in first year computer science courses at a university where students have widely varying English language skills. Our results indicate that contrary to the generally accepted view that achievement in high school mathematics courses is the best individual predictor of success in undergraduate computer science, success in English at the first-language level in high school correlates better with actual performance. We discuss the implications of this for universities whose medium of teaching is English, operating in social contexts where many students are not native English speakers.

SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
Benjamin Rosman
Benjamin Rosman
Lab Director

I am a Professor in the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. I work in robotics, artificial intelligence, decision theory and machine learning.