Factors Influencing Student Performance and Persistence in CS2

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Performance in CS1 and introductory CS courses has been an area of active research in the CS education research community for more than four decades, but studies related to student performance in CS2 are not as widely available. Past studies have examined the impact of CS1 grade, prior math preparation, and other factors such as homework, test, and project grades, on the overall performance in CS2. In this work, we will build upon the existing research related to CS2 performance with an emphasis on a few factors that have not been previously considered for this course. In addition to typical factors studied by others (i.e. gender, race, CS1 performance), our work also takes into account the impact of various CS1 pathways to CS2 and the number of previous college CS courses (including transfer credits) on student performance in CS2. We also look into both persistence, by distinguishing students who stay in the course versus those who drop from the class before the mid-semester drop deadline, and performance. Gender and race were not significant factors in determining performance in CS2 but undeclared engineering majors stood out as high performers and students’ CS pathway leading to CS2 was also significant. Notably, students with CS1 transfer credit had significantly lower pass rates. Students with only 1 previous CS course credit were less likely to drop or not pass the course.