Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in STEM Education


Computer Science

Major Advisor

Amit Jain, Ph.D.


Jonathan Brendefur, Ph.D.


Marissa Schmidt, M.S.


The following describes my research into pair-programming in a high school introductory computer science class. Research exists that shows the benefits of pair-programming in industry and post-secondary education. For example, in industry, well respected programmers often prefer pair-programming to a more individual approach and often produce better solutions. Furthermore, in post-secondary education, students show higher academic achievement and rely less on staff and instructors when paired with another student. There is not much research that investigates pair-programming in high school.

From January 2017 to March 2017 I explored the effect of pair-programming on my Exploring Computer Science class at Ridgevue High School in Nampa, Idaho. This is a brand-new program and the 2016/2017 school year marks the second time I have taught the class. Additionally, I only had one section with twenty students.

The curriculum used for this project is Exploring Computer Science by Joanna Goode of the University of Oregon and Gail Chapman of the University of California, Los Angeles. I used the programming projects from Unit four and forged eleven projects. Since I only had access to one section, I was not able to compare a section of individual work to a section of pair-programming work. We decided to investigate pair-programming in one section by administering six of the projects as individual assignments and 5 of the assignments as pair-programming assignments. After each project, I surveyed students to find out if pair-programming influenced students perceived problem-solving skills, attitude toward computer science, and comfort programming.

I conclude that more time and research needs to be implemented to identify the effects of pair programming on students’ attitudes toward computer science as a choice of study or as a career. Additionally, more time needs to be spent developing pair-programming at this level to substantiate any real positive effects on academic achievement. However, pair-programming does positively influence perceived problem-solving skills, and how comfortable students are with the programming language.