Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Rex A. Thomas


This study compared two units of instruction for overcoming difficulties of beginning programmers in understanding and implementing strategies of indirect addressing. One of the units emphasized the algorithms in which indirection was used, whereas the other unit emphasized indirect notation. Both instructional units were delivered by computer to two introduction to Pascal programming classes. Students in each class were randomly divided so that each student used one or the other of the two units;These units were used prior to and were supplementary to three lectures covering indirect notation. The effectiveness of the units were determined by two posttests. One posttest, requiring students to select subscripts at several levels of indirection, was administered by computer. This test was very similar to the activities in the notation unit. The second posttest was a paper pencil activity requiring the students to complete or modify sorting algorithms in which indirection was used;Because of the explorative nature of this study and the small sample size, the findings must be viewed as tentative. However, it would appear the notation of indirection by itself is not an important source of student problems in this area. In fact, there was little evidence to suggest that either unit made a sizeable difference in the student's ability to deal with indirection within the context of programming. There was an indication extra study of algorithms encouraged students to attempt to solve more problems, but this finding may be a result of the experimental conditions and may not be generalizable.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Robert Dee Franks



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

234 pages