31 votes

Students can solve programming exercises but not explain their solutions. What to do?

I have seen my share of this 'program gets output' but the programmer has no clue how she/he got there. It's funny how that happens so many times. This is what I have done to at least handle the ...
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  • 1,864
28 votes

What to tell students that plagiarised their programming assignment?

While there are an infinity of ways to write code that accomplishes any task, in tasks simple enough for labs, there are usually only two to four reasonable approaches for each step, and certain ...
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  • 31.5k
24 votes
Accepted

Students can solve programming exercises but not explain their solutions. What to do?

If I understand your problem correctly, it's that students can create programs that behave correctly without understanding why they behave correctly. I assume that they do this by some combination of ...
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24 votes
Accepted

What to tell students that plagiarised their programming assignment?

As a TA you are working for a professor. They are fundamentally responsible for grading. It would have been better had you checked with the prof before assigning grades and getting advice. But what ...
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  • 34.9k
20 votes

How can I speed up the construction of high quality testing materials?

I have a few suggestions based on my experience this year. I have one prep over two blocks, which meant that for every exam I wrote, I wrote two versions. Moreover, because I take a standards-based ...
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  • 9,042
14 votes
Accepted

Grading source code in an online environment

I would suggest you use a code review tool. This is something they will likely need to be using when working in industry. So worth upskill them on it now. You can use githubs one for free. (You are ...
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12 votes

What to tell students that plagiarised their programming assignment?

I had had many years of industrial assembler experience before I did my degree, so the assembler module was a cakewalk for me, but a quagmire for my fellow students. I was prevailed upon to demystify ...
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  • 221
11 votes

Should I have written tests on basic programming skills?

As a tool for differentiation, writing out code by hand is absolutely worthwhile. I taught this year in a classroom with whiteboard top desks, and students loved a) getting to writing on their desks (...
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  • 9,042
11 votes

Students can solve programming exercises but not explain their solutions. What to do?

I am wondering how much of this is because they can not express in natural language (don't know terminology). How much is because of just fiddle until it works programming. Learning to express in ...
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10 votes

Students can solve programming exercises but not explain their solutions. What to do?

I'm afraid my answer here will suggest that you completely revamp how you teach. The sort of problems that result in issues like this, seem to me to be problems that treat the computer as a fancy ...
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  • 34.9k
9 votes

Students can solve programming exercises but not explain their solutions. What to do?

It's time for a little "code review." Have a student present his code in front of class and talk about how he made it work. Hey, this happens in the professional world. There is no time like the ...
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  • 2,279
9 votes
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How can you efficiently assess students web coding?

Much less detail than the excellent post by Buffy, but directly to the question. Replace unit tests with validations and linters. Have the students create all content in distinct files: HTML, CSS, ...
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8 votes

How can you efficiently assess students web coding?

For me, 60 is a very large class. Let me focus on a course design, extrapolated from other areas, in my case, the compiler course. The intent here is to make assessment feasible, rather than to say ...
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  • 34.9k
8 votes

How can we measure proficiency in programming languages?

I think you are taking a good approach with your boot camp. I'd only suggest a warm up exercise/mini-project in which students get some practice, perhaps writing in groups (pair-programming, perhaps). ...
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  • 34.9k
8 votes

What to tell students that plagiarised their programming assignment?

There is a point where you should award some marks for the code being complete and producing the output. If the code is only part of the assessment and the student was not capable of writing it ...
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7 votes

How do you assess students' understanding of abstraction?

tl;dr: Just say no. This question is difficult on many levels. I seems to me to be a land mine of misconceptions and has the possibility to lead to poor teaching practice. First the difficulties ...
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  • 34.9k
7 votes

How can I speed up the construction of high quality testing materials?

You don't necessarily have to rewrite the entire thing every year. Most of the tests I give are 40 questions. What I try to do is add 10 or 15 each year to the bank that the test is pulled from. ...
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  • 3,029
7 votes

Grading source code in an online environment

It has never occurred to me to use printouts of code, even though I have an older colleague who does this. To me, it seems a little odd as an approach and inefficient. That said, if you wish to have ...
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  • 31.5k
7 votes

What to tell students that plagiarised their programming assignment?

Students cooperate. This should be encouraged. The whole idea of stackexchange.com is cooperation. And it is a very good idea. The problem is drawing the line between cooperation and plagiarism. My ...
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6 votes

Should I have written tests on basic programming skills?

I think having kids write code by hand can be incredibly worthwhile, but be careful of how you assess it. I wouldn't take points off for mistakes that would be easily caught by a compiler such as a ...
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5 votes
Accepted

How should students be encouraged to reflect and improve after summative assessment?

First, I dispute your statement that "the summative exam does nothing other than provide a coarse measure of the candidate's performance during the exam." Assessments are not merely chances for us to ...
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  • 31.5k
5 votes

Students can solve programming exercises but not explain their solutions. What to do?

I also encounter this issue (just encountered it yesterday in a lab exam). This is how I differentiate between someone who has done his work and just not been able to explain it and someone who has ...
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5 votes

Items on grading rubric for a coding assignment

So, if I were reading code, I would object if someone submitted code with every line commented. I am not aware of any professional code that does this, and when I occasionally receive code from ...
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  • 31.5k
5 votes

Items on grading rubric for a coding assignment

First, there are a couple of things on the list that are wrong. Ben I. has covered one of them. Comments on every line are a "code smell". If the code itself isn't obvious from its naming ...
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  • 34.9k
5 votes

Reduce Grading & Improve Assignments

Autograding doesn't have to be all-or-nothing How can I reduce the amount of grading for the assignments? The term "autograding" implies end-to-end work taking a zip file of submissions ...
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  • 320
4 votes

Should I have written tests on basic programming skills?

Is there a better way? Consider using an authentic activity that both exercises and motivates the learning. For example, often the author of code has difficulty finding and repairing errors in the ...
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  • 104
4 votes
Accepted

Assessing programming skills of students under 18 years

There are four places I would suggest looking if your concern is the K-12 environment: ISTE Standards (Note: there are standards here for multiple audiences, including students, teachers, and ...
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  • 9,042
4 votes

How do you assess students' understanding of abstraction?

Fundamentally, I question the notion that you can test to see if students understand the idea of abstraction beyond a superficial level, even if you don't restrict yourself to asking just multiple ...
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  • 3,995
4 votes

How do you assess students' understanding of abstraction?

I would probably ask students to demonstrate their understanding of abstraction by writing code demonstrating solutions to a small problem at, say, three different levels of abstraction. I'd probably ...
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