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Programming

This type of assessment directly tests students' ability to design, implement and execute computer programs. The assessment can be carried out as a 'bring your own device' exam, in designated computer labs, or at home.

Programming exams are often highly authentic as programming is considered a key competence in many jobs. In addition, programming exams allow for testing of students' handling of very realistic problems, such as debugging malfunctioning code, compiler issues, code optimisation, etc.

Examples from AU

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (formerly): Introduction to Programming


Faculty: Science and Technology (formerly)
Department: Department of Computer Science
Course: Introduction to Programming
Place: 1st year, 1st and 2nd quarter
Number of students: 200
Course responsible: Kurt Jensen

With the reintroduction of the semester structure, Introduction to Programming merges two exams into one. The new assessment consists of continuous assessment and a final exam, each accounting for 50% of the final grade.

Assessment method
Final Assessment
Continuous assessment
Continuous assessment

Percentage of grade

50

25

25

When

After the course

Week 7

Week 8-14

What

20 minutes individual oral exam without preparation.

30 minutes individual practical assessment in programming at computer.

Group project with weekly deliverables (in groups of 2 students) on the development of a game.

Why

To orally explain basic concepts and simple programs (in the learning outcomes described as explain ...).

Programming skills require practice and automatization of procedures. Sufficient programming skills are a prerequisite for the remaining part of the course (in the learning outcomes described as apply ... and develop ...).

To develop a game by gradually improving it with respect to topics covered during lectures (in the learning outcomes described as develop ... and apply ...).

How

In the oral exam students draw one of ten topics and hereafter present important concepts and related code for the topic. Exam questions are known beforehand and followed by questions in the entire syllabus.

Students individually solve 10 questions by writing a program on their own computer. The first eight questions should be answered correctly to pass.

The project is developed over 6 weeks with weekly deliverables. Each week students receive feedback and the project is scored. The project can be resubmitted once within a week to increase the scores. A minimum number of scores are required to be allowed to take the final oral exam.

 

Teaching activities

Students practice oral presentation (in week 9-14) and receive feedback from peers and teaching assistant.

Programming skills are practiced during theoretical exercises. In week 1-4 students work in pairs on obligatory assignments where they receive feedback and can resubmit until these are approved. In week 5-7 students hand-in individual assignments.

SCENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (formerly): Cloud Computing and Architecture


Faculty: Science and Technology (formerly)
Department: Department of Computer Science
Course: Cloud Computing and Architecture
Place: Master's Degree Programme in Computer Science
Number of students: 60-130
Course responsible: Henrik Bærbak Christensen

Practical experience with design and implementation of software architecture and cloud computing are obtained through an agile process where student continuously improve a software system through multiple hand-ins and instant feedback.

Assessment method
Final Assessment
Embedded assessment

Percentage of grade

See below

100

When

After the course

During the course

What

Practical defense of the grade from the embedded assessment.

Group programming project which is iteratively developed into a massive, multi-user, online exploration game.

Why

To make sure students qualify for the group grade from the embedded assessment.

As this is a very skills-oriented course, students need to practice programming skills (design, implement, deploy, evaluate, test) and applying knowledge in an authentic setup. In addition, embedded assessment avoids basing the grade on one performance only. 

How

Solving practical exercise on top of their code from the group programming project.

At the start of the course, students are given high quality source code, which they gradually extend and improve. There are no set deadlines, except for a final deadline. The project is divided into a number of exercises/milestones which are handed in and graded by course teachers. Each exercise can be resubmitted once and feedback is given within 24h on weekdays. Grades/feedback is manual or automatic depending on the exercise.

 

Teaching activities

Students practice skills and talk about the project and code in weekly coding labs and homework clubs.

Comments:

Students have in general performed really well in this course. Anyone who has invested time and effort has passed.

The total amount of feedback given per student is about 1.2 hours or 2.5 hours per group.