Comparison of Student Learning Outcomes Among SQL Problem-Solving Patterns

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Structured Query Language (SQL) plays a pivotal role in the effective management of relational databases and is a key skill across domains that engage with database systems, including research, development, and business management. However, mastering SQL can be challenging. To comprehend the approaches employed by students when solving SQL problems and address the challenges they faced during the learning process, our study analyzes submissions from the Database Systems course at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign during the Fall 2022 semester. We extend prior research involving line chart visualizations that facilitate instructors in identifying struggling students and understanding their submission behaviors. Yet, we acknowledge the limitations of this approach in providing timely feedback and actionable insights due to the sheer volume of visualizations. To address this, we developed an innovative technique using global sequence alignment scores and regular expression algorithms to compress student submission sequences. Our approach reveals submission patterns and pattern elements, leading to recommendations for instructors to enhance database education. By integrating student performance data, such as the number of submission attempts on a particular SQL problem and whether the student arrived at a correct final solution query, we aim to empirically support these recommendations, thereby enabling instructors to more accurately differentiate between struggling and excelling students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2023 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2023 - Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9798350336429
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes
Event53rd IEEE ASEE Frontiers in Education International Conference, FIE 2023 - College Station, United States
Duration: Oct 18 2023Oct 21 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Conference53rd IEEE ASEE Frontiers in Education International Conference, FIE 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCollege Station


  • Database Education
  • SQL
  • online assessment
  • pattern mining
  • sequence alignment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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