Asee peer logo

Student Learning and Use of Tools in an Undergraduate Software Testing Class

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Software Engineering Constituent Committee Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Software Engineering Constituent Committee

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1115.1 - 24.1115.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Peter J. Clarke Florida International Univeristy

visit author page

Peter J. Clarke received his B.Sc. degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill) in 1987, M.S. degree from SUNY Binghamton University in 1996 and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Clemson University in 2003. His research interests are in the areas of software testing, software metrics, model-driven software development, domain-specific modeling languages, and computer science education. He is currently an associate professor in the School of Computing and Information Sciences at Florida International University. He is a member of the ACM (SIGSOFT, SIGCSE, and SIGAPP); IEEE Computer Society; and a member of the Association for Software Testing (AST).

visit author page

author page

Debra Lee Davis Florida International University

author page

Raymond Chang Lau Florida International University


Tariq M. King Ultimate Software Group, Inc.

visit author page

Dr. Tariq M. King received his Ph.D in Computer Science from Florida International University (FIU) in 2009, and his Masters in Computer Science in 2007 from the same institution. He also holds a Bachelors in Computer Science from the Florida Institute of Technology. Dr. King is currently the Lead Software Test Architect at Ultimate Software, and an Adjunct Professor in Computer Science at FIU. He has developed and taught several software engineering courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels in academia, and has also trained software professionals in industry. His research areas of interest include software testing, autonomic and cloud computing, model-driven software engineering, and computer science education. He is a member of the ACM and IEEE Computer Society.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Student Learning and Use of Tools in an Undergraduate Software Testing ClassAs software becomes more ubiquitous, the need to improve its quality is becoming more critical.Software bugs continue to plague many industries ranging from business to the military, and arecosting companies in the global economy in excess of $300 Billion per year. As a result of thehigh cost of these bugs, some companies are now requiring their developers to have some formof training in software testing. This is mainly due to the fact that software testing continues to beone of the most widely used and effective means of software validation.Although practical training in software testing tools and methodologies is vital for ensuringsoftware quality in industry, academic course curricula do not appear to be providing studentswith enough hands-on experience in software testing. Furthermore, there are few research studiesthat discuss how different pedagogical approaches to such training are helping students toimprove their testing skills. Providing easy access to software testing tools offers the ability toinvestigate interesting pedagogical research questions, two of which are as follows: How arethese tools currently used in the classroom? How is the easy access to tools improving thestudents' testing skills?In this paper, we describe how software testing tools are introduced and used in an undergraduatetesting course at a large state university. As part of a semester-long course project, studentsaccess self-study tutorials on black-box and white-box testing tools via a Web-Based Repositoryof Software Testing Tools (WReSTT). WReSTT provides students with a collaborative learningenvironment where they can work on software testing tasks during the semester. We alsodescribe the structure of the testing course and how to access the repository for those instructorsinteresting in replicating the study.During Fall 2012, we conducted a case study to answer to following questions: (1) Does the useof code coverage testing tools motivate students to improve their test suites during testing? (2)Do the results generated by the code coverage tools support the subsumes relation betweenstatement coverage and branch coverage? (3) Do students find WReSTT a useful learningresource for testing techniques and tools?The sample size of the study contained 35 students who were assigned to six project teams. Thedata for the study was collected using: (a) a review of the project artifacts, (b) observations of in-class project presentations, and (c) a student survey. Our findings suggest that code coveragetools and techniques are an effective motivator for students to improve the quality of their testcases. In addition, the students find WReSTT to be a useful resource for learning softwaretesting techniques as well as a resource for learning how to use testing tools.

Clarke, P. J., & Davis, D. L., & Chang Lau, R., & King, T. M. (2014, June), Student Learning and Use of Tools in an Undergraduate Software Testing Class Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23048

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015