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

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.

Full version Not available
Also see Hitting the wall: Errors in developing 'simple' spreadsheet models
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.