What do students think of exams as tool for assessing programming

  1. Ajit, S. (2017) Exam as an assessment instrument in computer programming courses: student perceptions. Poster presented to: 6th International Assessment in Higher Education Conference (AHE 2017), Manchester, United Kingdom, 28-29 June 2017.

Assessment can take many forms, and it can be argued that the greater the diversity in the methods of assessment, the fairer, assessment is to students (Race 2007). The most effective form of assessment is one that appropriately examines the learning outcomes of the module. Assessment methods are also known to play an important role in how students learn (Brown 2004). The traditional assessment approach, in which one single written examination counts towards a student's total score, no longer meets new demands of programming language education (Wang, Li et al. 2012). Students tend to gain higher marks from coursework assignments than they do from examinations (Gibbs and Simpson, 2004). Students consider coursework to be fairer than exams, to measure a greater range of abilities than exams and to allow students to organize their own work patterns to a greater extent (Kniveton, 1996, cited in Gibbs and Simpson, 2004). Do students really hate exams? Are exams ineffective as an assessment approach in computer programming courses? A university wide research survey regarding assessment approaches in computer programming was conducted among students of undergraduate computing courses (including all three levels). 167 students participated in the survey. The author discusses some interesting results obtained from the survey. More than 50% of the students surveyed indicated that they would like examination to be a part of the assessment approach. The author explores possible reasons for this choice by students and compares these results with that of research conducted in other subject areas. 

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