Describing the what and why of students' difficulties in Boolean logic

Geoffrey L. Herman, Michael C. Loui, Lisa Kaczmarczyk, Craig Zilles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to reason with formal logic is a foundational skill for computer scientists and computer engineers that scaffolds the abilities to design, debug, and optimize. By interviewing students about their understanding of propositional logic and their ability to translate from English specifications to Boolean expressions, we characterized common misconceptions and novice problem-solving processes of students who had recently completed a digital logic design class. We present these results and discuss their implications for instruction and the development of pedagogical assessment tools known as concept inventories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalACM Transactions on Computing Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Human Factors
  • Languages
  • Verification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Education


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