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I have seen my share of this 'program gets output' but the programmer has no clue how she/he got there. Its funny how that happens so many times.

This is what I have done to at least handle the issue.

Before assessments, I break down the evaluation to include the following.

  • Simply getting the output gets them the bare passing grade.
  • Those who can use meaningful names for their variables, function calls get extra.
  • Those that can back up their loops, method calls and variable declarations with expansive ( 2 to 3 lines at least) comments get extra points.
  • In addition to that, those that can write psuedocode above the program code (perhaps in a big block of comments) get some more.

Obviously, this makes me their unfavourite faculty in terms of evaluation and gets me a lot of complaints but I stick with it.