Do senior CS students capitalize on recursion?

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


CS students learn and practice recursion in CS1, Data-Structures, Introduction-to-Algorithms, and additional courses throughout the curriculum. Previous studies revealed difficulties of CS1 students with the concept and the construct of recursion. What about advanced students? They may well understand the concept and the construct of recursion; but do they invoke and utilize recursion as a problem solving means? The paper examines this aspect, with senior CS students. The students were given three algorithmic tasks, for which the suitable solution approach was recursive. The student solutions and explanations demonstrate very limited capitalization on recursion as a problem solving means. We discuss the findings and suggest pedagogical implications for teaching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-86
Number of pages5
JournalSIGCSE Bulletin (Association for Computing Machinery, Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004
EventITiCSE 2004 - 9th Annual SIGCSE Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education - Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Jul 200430 Jul 2004


  • Pedagogy
  • Recursion
  • Student Errors
  • Ways of Reasoning


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