CCE Theses and Dissertations

Using A Computer Aptitude Test To Investigate Differences Between Students In Selected College Curricula

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Center for Computer and Information Sciences


John Kingsburry

Committee Member

Edward Lieblein

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

George K. Fornshell


With the rapid spread of the microcomputer as a business tool, large numbers of people, who may not possess the typical skills of the computer professional, are using the computer to solve business problems. This dissertation explores the extent to which computer aptitude is present in a selected group of college students. A nationally normed test for computer aptitude was administered to upper-level college students in five curricula, Computer Science, Information Management, Business, Music, and Liberal Arts.

The computer aptitude measure, CAQ Score, and its subordinate elements were compared across the five curricula. Computer aptitude was also contrasted with measures of math experience, gender, and grade point average. Statistical tests included t-tests, ANOVA, and correlation. The mean computer aptitude score for all students tested was found to be more than one standard deviation above the nationally normed values. CAQ Score and some underlying measures were found to be significantly different between students in Computer Science and Information Management versus those in Liberal Arts. The mean CAQ scores of students who had taken higher level math courses were significantly higher than students who had only high school math courses. The mean scores of male students were significantly higher than those of female students. CAQ Scores varied significantly with GPA. However, the r squared value was less than 0.10.

The first conclusion was that college students possess higher computer aptitude than the average population. Second, there are significant differences in computer aptitude among students in the curricula tested. It was concluded that computer aptitude differs by gender, caused by the underlying measure called Logical Structures. It was also concluded that students who complete advanced mathematics courses are apt to possess more computer aptitude than those who terminate their math courses at a lower level. Finally, because of the weak r value of the significant relationship between GPA and CAQ, and the previous math findings, it was concluded that computer aptitude is related to an element of general intelligence that is common to computer and math skills. The study recommends that further research be done into the elements of computer and math skills that may be similar or differ from those of general intelligence. Because of findings related to Music students, it is recommended that research be done on the similarities and Differences in math and music cognitive skills. Finally, the study recommends that research be conducted into the spectrum of computer skills ranging from the technical computer professional to the person who uses the computer as a business tool.

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