Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Unit Testing and Automatic Grading of Programming Assignments

I've found before and still that one of my least favorite things as a teaching assistant is grading. It takes time to do well, and it's hard to be consistent.

I remember once as an undergrad that I had a class with automatic grading. It ran the input and output automatically and popped out a grade.

There are pros and cons to automated grading, but I've thought of a way to make it also useful for teaching other good principles. Basically, teach unit testing by providing unit tests that their program has to pass. And use that as a way to do part of the grading automatically. There still ought to be a human involved if possible for part of assessment, but I think that giving out unit tests in advance might not be too bad of an idea in some cases.

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