AbstractNovices tend to make unnecessary errors when they write programming code. Many of these errors can be attributed to the novices’ fragile knowledge of basic programming concepts. Programming instructors also find it challenging to develop teaching and learning strategies that are aimed at addressing the specific programming challenges experienced by their students. This paper reports on a study aimed at (1) identifying the common programming errors made by a select group of novice programmers, and (2) analyzing how these common errors changed at different stages during an academic semester. This exploratory study employed a mixed-methods approach based on the Framework of Integrated Methodologies (FraIM). Manual, structured content analysis of 684 programming artefacts, created by 38 participants and collected over an entire semester, lead to the identification of 21 common programming errors. The identified errors were classified into four categories: syntax, semantic, logic, and type errors. The results indicate that semantic and type errors occurred most frequently. Although common error categories are likely to remain the same from one assignment to the next, the introduction of more complex programming concepts towards the end of the semester could lead to an unexpected change in the most common error category. Knowledge of these common errors and error categories could assist programming instructors in adjusting their teaching and learning approaches for novice programmers.KeywordsNovice programmerCommon programming errorsCS1Computer Science education

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