Do Students Recognize Ambiguity in Software Specifications? A Multi-national, Multi-institutional Report
Successful software engineering requires experience and acknowledgment of complexity, including that which leads designers to recognize ambiguity within the software design description itself. We report on a study of 21 post-secondary institutions from the USA, UK, Sweden, and New Zealand. First competency and graduating students as well as educators were asked to perform a software design task. We found that graduating seniors were more likely to recognize ambiguities in under-specified problems than first competency students. Additionally, participants who addressed all requirements in the design were more likely than others to recognize ambiguities in the design specification. The behavior of recognizing ambiguity and gathering information appear to be independent of past performance, as measured by course grades.
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