Spreadsheet bibliography

Title Hitting the wall: Errors in developing and code inspecting a 'simple' spreadsheet model
Authors Raymond R. Panko & Ralph H. Sprague
Year 1998
Type Article
Publication Decision Support Systems
Series Volume 22, Number 4, April, pages 337-353
Abstract

Field audits and experiments have found substantial error rates when students and professionals have built spreadsheet models.

In this study, 102 undergraduate MIS majors and 50 MBA students developed a model from a word problem that was relatively simple and free of domain knowledge.

Even so, 35% of their 152 models were incorrect. There was no significant difference in errors per model between undergraduates and MBAs. Even among the 17 MBAs with 250 h or more of experience, 24% of the models contained errors. The cell error rate (CER) — the percentage of cells with errors — was 2.0%.

When 23 undergraduates attempted to audit their models through code inspection, only three with incorrect spreadsheets (15%) produced clean spreadsheets when they finished the audit.

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Also see Hitting the wall: Errors in developing 'simple' spreadsheet models
Sample
The Wall Task

You are to build a spreadsheet model to help you create a bid to build a wall. You will offer two options — lava rock or brick. Both walls will be built by crews of two. Crews will work 3 8-h days to build either type of wall. The wall will be 20 ft long, 6 ft tall, and 2 ft thick. Wages will be US$10 per h per person. You will have to add 20% to wages to cover fringe benefits. Lava rock will cost US$3 per cubic foot. Brick will cost US$2 per cubic foot. Your bid must add a profit margin of 30% to your expected cost.