How Shall we Assess This?

ITiCSE'03 Working Group

Chaired by Janet Carter and John English

With increasing class sizes in educational establishments worldwide, the practice of assessment is becoming a problematic issue; increasing numbers make it increasingly difficult to assess student attainment. This working group intends to investigate current assessment practices, particularly the use of automated assessment, in computer science education. This includes determining the scope and usage of automated assessment techniques in educational institutions worldwide, the educational soundness of the techniques used, and the impact of these techniques on areas including student achievement, plagiarism, and staff workloads. Current practice regarding assessment techniques needs to be located within current educational theory. Once this is established we will be in a position to suggest a set of internationally applicable guidelines for educators setting automated CS assessments.

Automated assessment saves time and human resources but its adoption must be pedagogically sound; all assessments should follow sound educational principles. The major output will be a survey of, and guidelines for the use of, automated assessment within CS teaching and learning, although other findings will also emerge. The envisaged outputs are: a taxonomy of CS assessment; guidelines for assessing CS materials; guidelines for the use of automated assessment within CS; the provision of sound pedagogic principles for the adoption of appropriate assessment methods for the scenario; a picture of the correlation between a student's understandings of the different topic areas taught within a CS degree program.

The working group report forms pages 107 - 123 of the December 2003 issue of the SIGCSE Bulletin.

For more information contact Janet Carter or John English