Supporting Direct Markup and Evaluation of Students' Projects On-line

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Date
2004-06-11
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Virginia Tech
Abstract

Automated grading systems have been researched at various universities for several years. Numerous systems have been developed that automate the process of grading by compiling, executing and testing the students submitted source code. However, such systems are mostly written as UNIX scripts and are restricted to performing one kind of activity. The instructors or teaching assistants have to resort to other methods in order to provide their feedback to the students.

The core of this thesis is to research a TA feedback mechanism which will streamline the grading process for the professors and teaching assistants. A web-based grading tool has been developed that allows course staff to enter comments for students' programs directly through a web browser. The interface provides for full direct-manipulation editing of comments, which are then immediately viewable by students when they look up assignment results. Such an interface also has potential to support peer grading of assignments.

Teaching assistants of introductory programming level courses were interviewed to learn about the different grading methods they use and were asked their opinion of our new grading interface. TAs were also asked to grade assignments using the traditional paper method as well as the computer using our new grading tool for comparison. Finally, an anonymous survey was sent out to various computer science faculties in different universities to gather information about the expectations they have with respect to TA grading activities for programming assignments and the learning outcomes that these professors desire for their students.

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Keywords
Automated grading, WYSIWYG editor
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