We report a small yet detailed study where we recorded students completing an object-oriented programming exercise in the context of a CS2 course using Python. All students struggled while completing the assignment, most notably experiencing difficulties with parameters and referencing elements with object-dot notation. While previous research has identified these areas as troublesome for novice programmers, our analysis suggests that parameters and reference specifications are particularly critical prerequisites for learning advanced object-oriented concepts with the Python programming language. Given our findings, we recommend extensive practice with parameter passing and object-dot notation before addressing advanced object-oriented concepts in a Python course.
Miller, Craig; Settle, Amber; and Lalor, John. (2015) Learning Object-Oriented Programming in Python: Towards an Inventory of Difficulties and Testing Pitfalls.