Journal: IPSI Transactions on Internet Research

Common Errors in High School Novice Programming

Authors: Radaković, Davorka and Steingartner, William

View PDF Cite this article


Identifying and classifying the commonness of errors made by novices learning to write computer programs has long been of interest to both: researchers and educators. When teachers understand the nature of these errors and how students correct them, instruction can be more effective. Some errors occur more frequently than others. In this paper, we examine the most common programming errors made by beginning first-year high school gifted mathematics students in Mathematical High School. Notwithstanding the extensive coverage of these error types in lectures and learning materials, we found that these errors still occur when students write programs. Our results suggest that students who habitually make all common errors have lower grades, but even excellent students make logical errors in loop conditions. Therefore, we advise more practice in logical reasoning for novice programmers and an introduction to formal semantics.


Computer Science Education, C# Language, Errors, Novice Programmers, Programming

Published in: IPSI Transaction on Internet Research (Volume: 20, Issue: 1)
Publisher: IPSI, Belgrade

Date of Publication: January 1, 2024

Open Access: CC-BY-NC-ND
DOI: 10.58245/ipsi.tir.2401.05

Pages: 47 - 59

ISSN: 1820 - 4503


1. H. B. Gonzalez and J. J. Kuenzi. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: A Primer. misc/R42642.pdf, 08 2012. Accessed 1 April 2022.

2. N. DeJarnette. America’s children: providing early exposure to stem (science, technology, engineering and math) Initiatives. Education, 133(1):77–84, 2012.

3. TeachEngineering STEM Curriculum for K- 12. curriculum/browse. Accessed 1 April 2022.

4. Y. Qian and J. Lehman. An Investigation of High School Students’ Errors in Introductory Programming: A Data-Driven Approach. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 58(5):919–945, 2020.

5. D. McCall and M. Kölling. A new look at noviceprogrammer errors. ACM Transactions on Computational Education, 19:1–38, 2019.

6. M. Bakator and D. Radosav. Managing Education in the COVID-19 era. In International Conference on Information Technology and Development of Education — ITRO 2020, pages 134–137. University of Novi Sad, 10 2020.

7. S. Pokhrel and R. Chhetri. A Literature Review on Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Teaching and Learning. Higher Education for the Future, 8(1):133–141, 2021.

8. V. Vilić. Cyber security and privacy protection during coronavirus pandemic. In Sinteza 2021 – International Scientific Conference on Information Technology and Data Related Research, pages 158–164, 2021.

9. W. Steingartner, M. Jankura, and D. Radaković. Visualization of Formal Semantics – Possibilities of Attracting Formal Methods in Teaching. In Sinteza 2021 – International Scientific Conference on Information Technology and Data Related Research, pages 235–239, 2021.

10. Sabine Meinck, Julian Fraillon, and Rolf Strietholt. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education International evidence from the Responses to Educational Disruption Survey (REDS). 02 2022



Radaković, Davorka

Davorka Radaković received her B.Sc. in Mathematics in 2001, M.Sc. (former Mr, 2 years) in Informatics in 2010, and PhD degree in Computer science in 2019 from the University of Novi Sad (Serbia), Faculty of Sciences. Her scientific research is focused on the development of a platform for dynamic geometry.
e-mail:, Orcid ID: 0000-0001-8480-3211

; and

Steingartner, William

William Steingartner works as Associate Professor of Computer Science at the Department of Computers and Informatics of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics, Technical University of Košice, Slovakia. He defended his PhD thesis “The Rôle of Toposes in Informatics” in 2008. His main fields of research are the semantics of programming languages, category theory, compilers, data structures and recursion theory. He also works with type theory and software engineering.
e-mail:, Orcid ID: 0000-0002-2852-9403


Cite this article

Radaković, Davorka; and Steingartner, William "Common Errors in High School Novice Programming ", IPSI Transactions on Internet Research, vol. 20(1), pp. 47-59, 2024.