A Preliminary Data-driven Analysis of Common Errors Encountered by Novice SPARC Programmers


Answer Set Programming (ASP), a modern development of Logic Programming, enables a natural integration of Computing with STEM subjects. This integration addresses a widely acknowledged challenge in K-12 education, and early empirical results on ASP-based integration are promising. Although ASP is considered a simple language when compared with imperative programming languages, programming errors can still be a significant barrier for students. This is particularly true for K-12 students who are novice users of ASP. Categorizing errors and measuring their difficulty has yielded insights into imperative languages like Java. However, little is known about the types and difficulty of errors encountered by K-12 students using ASP. To address this, we collected high school student programs submitted during a 4-session seminar teaching an ASP language known as SPARC. From error messages in this dataset, we identify a collection of error classes, and measure how frequently each class occurs and how difficult it is to resolve.


Zach Hansen
University of Nebraska Omaha

Hanxiang Du
University of Florida

Wanli Xing
University of Florida

Rory Eckel
Texas Tech University

Justin Lugo

Yuanlin Zhang
Texas Tech University