Are automated assessment tools helpful in programming courses?

Raymond Scott Pettit, John D. Homer, Kayla Michelle Holcomb, Nevan Simone, Susan A. Mengel

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Automated assessment tools (AATs) are growing in popularity in introductory programming courses, but researchers may have a difficult time synthesizing valid data to draw conclusions about the tools' usefulness. Our first step addressing this issue was to break down our overriding question - are automated assessment tools helpful in programming courses? - into four more specific questions: (1) Have AATs proven to be helpful in improving student learning? (2) Do students think that AATs have improved their performance? (3) After having used the tools, do instructors think that the tools have improved their teaching experiences? and (4) Is the assessment performed by AATs accurate enough to be helpful? In discussing the many AATs that exist, many researchers have only reported results relevant to one or two of these specific questions. We address each of our four questions separately and draw on data from 24 different tools to arrive at our conclusions. We determine that the literature demonstrates AATs helpfulness in student learning, instructor support, and assessment accuracy. However, we found results about students' opinions regarding the helpfulness of AATs to be inconclusive. Given our findings, we make suggestions both for instructors using these tools and to researchers creating them.

Original languageEnglish
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
Volume122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Making Value for Society
Issue number122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Making Value for...
StatePublished - 2015
Event2015 122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Seattle, United States
Duration: Jun 14 2015Jun 17 2015


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