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First Try, No (Autograder) Warm Up: Motivating Quality Coding Submissions

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

COED: Grading Systems

Tagged Division

Computers in Education Division (COED)

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Paper Authors

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Liia Butler University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Geoffrey L. Herman University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Geoffrey L. Herman is the Severns Teaching Associate Professor with the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Instructors face the challenge of encouraging well-tested, quality code submissions from students while battling the double-edged sword of the autograder. While autograders can provide feedback to students quickly, students can become reliant on the autograder as the primary means for determining correctness of their code. In a similar spirit, instructors also frequently promote submitting early and not waiting until the last second. To encourage students to submit fewer erroneous submissions and completing programming assignments earlier, we examine a policy change in lab submissions from time-restricted submissions to point-restricted submissions, implemented in consecutive semesters of a large Computer Architecture course. We survey students on their initial perception of the two policies, then survey students on their perception at the end of the semester. We also analyze the lab data, comparing success metrics and timelines of submissions between the two semesters. Several labs experienced a statistically significant increase in correct, first submissions under the point-restricted policy. We use these results to lead discussion about our experience using a point-restricted policy for larger programming assignments.

Butler, L., & Herman, G. L. (2023, June), First Try, No (Autograder) Warm Up: Motivating Quality Coding Submissions Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--43714

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