Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

William J. Leumele


Computer-assisted instruction is a means of teaching a student by interaction with a computer through a remote console. This thesis will discuss teaching BASIC, a simple programming language, through computer-assisted instruction. The methods of instruction have been carefully planned for and tested with high school students, many of whom have had no computer programming experience.

The project involves three phases. The first phase introduces the student to BASIC by means of a self-instructional manual containing all the fundamentals one needs to know to program a fairly sophisticated problem in BASIC. Contained in the manual are a series of questions which the student should answer to check his progress. Having finished this manual and studied the illustrative examples in the manual, he is now ready to be examined in this the second phase. A programmed examination is used to test each student; the questions for the exam are chosen at random from a bank of questions. The third phase involves problems stored in the computer which contain errors and deletions that the student must locate and correct. This third phase tests the student's programming ability, whereas, the programmed examination tests his understanding of various aspects of the language. The last two phases are more specifically classified as computer-managed instruction (CMI).

The results, after having implemented this three phase plan, were quite gratifying having used high school students from many different schools in Rhode Island. All the students were able to solve the suggested problems at the end of the self-instructional manual which clearly indicates that the primary objective had been reached; i.e., to teach a beginner how to program an intelligent problem in BASIC. Students also learned good programming techniques, such as conservation of storage; however, this accomplishment would be most difficult to measure as it varied from student to student. The project was also implemented in a short course for high school teachers with much the same successful results. All who participated enjoyed the CAI method of instruction.