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55 votes

If a program does not compile, should it get a mark of zero?

This answer assumes that the course's goal is to teach programming (as opposed to teaching advanced algorithms or numerics etc. to which the programming would only be an end). In that case I'd hold: ...
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54 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

100% yes. In beginning courses, it's practically a cognitive requirement. Let me see if I can break down for you why it is so important. It comes down to what we can know that the student knows. ...
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51 votes
Accepted

Should test cases be made available to students for assessed assignments?

My best practice would be to provide students with test cases and require them to submit additional test cases with their code. Then run everyone's test cases against everyone's code. Let the students ...
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50 votes
Accepted

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

Edit: This relatively high voted answer seems to be confusing to some, as it does not seem to give a clear answer. TL;DR: yes, doing tests on paper is usual at least in my university, at least many ...
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49 votes

If a program does not compile, should it get a mark of zero?

Of course not, and I have trouble believing that anyone would truly entertain the other position in any serious way. The closest analog in another field would be if you were to present an essay in a ...
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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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30 votes

If a program does not compile, should it get a mark of zero?

Following further with @Ben I.'s answer, I think the real problem is often not giving feedback about whether the program builds to the student in an inspectable and rapid manner, while also allowing ...
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  • 401
24 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

Although most of the answers here seem to be in agreement that coding tests should be done on paper, I would like to offer a different opinion. Any test that includes coding would benefit the student, ...
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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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19 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

Speaking as a former student and as a coder: yes. Perhaps there's an element of in-my-day geezerism here, but under the assumption that by "on a computer" you mean "in an IDE" I'll point out that ...
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19 votes

How can I automate the grading of programming assignments?

The degree of automation that you can achieve depends on how you want to grade. The most valuable type of grading (to a student) does not only cover whether the code works or not, but also offers ...
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18 votes

Should test cases be made available to students for assessed assignments?

I've always released a number of test cases for the purposes of clarity. I do have to double- and triple-check that my unpublished test cases are nevertheless unambiguously specified in the ...
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  • 31.6k
18 votes

If a program does not compile, should it get a mark of zero?

I think giving a zero for a non-compiling program can be reasonable and expected behavior in many circumstances. It's pretty close to what I do now (more below). The Original Academia SE Question Note ...
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16 votes

If a program does not compile, should it get a mark of zero?

I enforced this exact policy ("doesn't compile = failure") For several years I was the assessor on a postgraduate course on C++ (Financial computing with C++) given at the mathematics ...
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  • 261
14 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

As a student who went through 4 years of undergraduate in computer science, writing all my exams on paper, I do think there are advantages to a paper exam. If you need an IDE to tell you the things ...
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  • 773
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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13 votes

If a program does not compile, should it get a mark of zero?

As a blanket policy, I would say that automatically assigning a grade of zero for any submission that doesn't compile is completely unreasonable. Aside from the reasons that Ben I. has already listed, ...
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  • 231
12 votes
Accepted

How to provide individual grades for group project work?

In "Assessing Individual Contributions to Group Software Projects" (WCCCE '03), William Gardner discusses a number of strategies for adjusting team programming project grades for individual ...
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12 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

Speaking as a former student, a coder & a teacher: yes. In addition to the points raised by G. Ann, I would add the following: Problems on tests are typically far simpler than full real world ...
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  • 414
12 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

Speaking as a former student, a former competitive programmer, a real world programmer, yes. Forcing student to write code on paper is not pointless. It has following benefits: Giving you syntax ...
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  • 221
12 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

Maybe some complementary points to what as already been said (as a CS assistant professor, giving both theoretical and practical courses). Even for practical courses (those which involve coding), ...
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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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  • 9,032
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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11 votes

If a program does not compile, should it get a mark of zero?

I imagine this debate arises from two basic truisms: 1) the fact that nearly all programming languages have simple frame works that allow empty programs to be built in just a few lines; and 2) that ...
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  • 499
10 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

Your question has an implicit assumption: that CS is programming and what you're learning (and will always learn) in CS is programming. That's not necessarily true. Even though an introductory course "...
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10 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

Having taken and TA'd for classes which use both approaches, I would have to say that it all depends on what you want to see from the students. On the side of having paper exams, it has already been ...
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10 votes

Should test cases be made available to students for assessed assignments?

TL;DR: If there's no special reason against it, release them before the assignments are done. If you'd like to keep them secret to the students while developing, I would still recommend releasing them ...
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  • 971
10 votes

How can I automate the grading of programming assignments?

Yikes, that doesn't sound like a fun way to grade. Sounds about like what I do with students that are competing in ACSL competitions. But that's only 6 or 7 students, 4 times a year. I can't imagine ...
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  • 3,029
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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  • 35.1k

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