The Effect of Whiteboarding on Student Self-Efficacy in the Computer Science Classroom

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Computer Science (CS) is a critical subject for STEM students to learn. Yet, many students struggle in Introductory Computer Science (CS1) and fail or dropout of the class. A lack of CS self-efficacy - the belief that the individual can complete a task - is frequently the cause of this failure to succeed in CS1. Solutions have been proposed to improve student self-efficacy in CS1. Unfortunately, a lack of self-efficacy in CS1 classes is still a problem. This study examines a pedagogical tool, whiteboarding, and it's affect on student perception of self-efficacy during the programming problem-solving process for novice programmers. These findings indicate whiteboarding can be a vital tool that increases student self-efficacy by improving their success at programming activities, increasing collaboration and feedback, and providing an active learning environment that is positive and holds students accountable for their work. The goal of this multiple method study was to identify the effect on CS1 students' perception of self-efficacy. Focus group sessions and researcher notes and memos were used to collect qualitative data. A pre- and post-intervention self-efficacy questionnaire was used to quantify the change in self-efficacy. The whiteboarding intervention was conducted in two AP CS A classes during the first four weeks of the year. Seventeen 10th grade students participated in the focus groups and the questionnaire. Three focus groups of four students and one focus group of five students was conducted at the end of the intervention. The three themes that emerged from the focus group sessions answered the research question: Engagement with the Problem, Engagement with Others, and Engagement with the Environment. Teaching success in the CS1 classroom requires student self-efficacy. This study has implications for CS1 course instructors.



programming, Self-efficacy, whiteboarding, computer science