Investigating students’ journey through a computer science program using exam data: three new approaches
A computing student will over the first three years of their studies complete approximately 20 exams and even more attempts due to failures and retakes. Details about all exam attempts are stored in a national database called Common Student System (Felles studentsystem, FS). Although access to FS, in general, is restricted, anonymized data about exam attempts can be provided for research and is a potential goldmine of data that, if used right might be a useful tool for educators and teachers. In this study, we explore this data in an attempt to conceptualize three new approaches to assessing student performance. Firstly, we relate students' final grade point average (GPA) to their performance in all courses in the first two years. Additionally, we propose a new indicator of student performance called "struggle factor," which is calculated using the number of exam attempts. Lastly, we investigate how students perform in different course subjects and types. Both the proposed use of FS data and the new approaches to performance indicators are relevant for educators wanting to understand the educational design of a study program and the students’ journey.