Misconception: In C-based languages, students don’t know when to use and not use pointer derefrences (*) and reference-operators (&).

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  • Often, students can explain these entities abstractly without much trouble.
  • Unfortunately, when they go on to write a program, student may try every combination of references and dereferences (& and *), no matter how unnecessary or incorrect.
    • It is normal for students to understand "&" at some stages and then not understand it for a while.
  • Give students a graduated sequence of exercises to help them build confidence and competence in this area. One example of such lab exercises may be found here.

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Interview with Henry Walker