Skill progression demonstrated by users in the Scratch animation environment Public Deposited

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This is the author's peer-reviewed final manuscript, as accepted by the publisher. The published article is copyrighted by Taylor & Francis and can be found at:  http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hihc20/current.

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  • The Scratch environment exemplifies a tool+community approach to teaching elementary programming skills, as it includes a website where users can publish, discuss, and organize animations that are programs. To explore this environment’s effectiveness for helping people to develop programming skills, we performed a quantitative analysis of 250 randomly-selected users’ data, including over 1000 of their animations. We measured skill based on four models that had proven useful in prior empirical studies. Overall, we found mixed results about the environment’s effectiveness. Among users who do not drop out, we found an increasing progression in social skills. However, we also observed an extremely high drop-out rate. Moreover, we observed a flat or decreasing level of demonstrated skill on virtually every measure. These results call into question whether simply combining an animation tool and an online community is sufficient for keeping people engaged long enough to learn elementary programming skills.
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  • Scaffidi, C., & Chambers, C. (2012). Skill progression demonstrated by users in the scratch animation environment. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 28(6), 383-398. doi: 10.1080/10447318.2011.595621
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