A Modular, Practical Test for a Programming Course

Jan Stolarek, Przemyslaw Nowak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In order to evaluate students’ programming skills during a university course, a practical programming test can be administered, in which students are required to implement a short yet complete program according to a provided specification. However, such tests often suffer from drawbacks that prevent comprehensive and accurate assessment of students’ abilities. In this paper we identify these drawbacks and then present a modular, practical test that avoids common testing pitfalls, as well as show how to design such a test based on course learning outcomes. A key aspect of our approach is adoption of modularity, which ensures independent and comprehensive verification of learning outcomes. We have used our method to evaluate object-oriented programming skills of undergraduate students over several years and have found that our testing approach has proven its validity and superiority over approaches employed previously.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSIGCSE '20: Proceedings of the 51st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781450367936
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2020
Event51st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education - Portland, United States
Duration: 11 Mar 202014 Mar 2020


Symposium51st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
Abbreviated titleSIGCSE 2020
CountryUnited States
Internet address


  • practical skills testing
  • learning outcomes
  • student assessment

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