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Durham Research Online
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Creative assessment in programming.

Bradley, Steven (2020) 'Creative assessment in programming.', in Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Computing Education Practice 2020. .

Abstract

Negative stereotypes persist in computing, and align poorly with research into the motivations of female students. In particular, female students are more inclined to want to work creatively and have a positive impact through their work. However programming assignments are often tightly constrained and rather pointless in themselves so are doubly unattractive. Alongside this, concerns are often raised about plagiarism in programming assignments, particularly when the assessment process is automated. We attempt to address both of these issues by designing more creative programming assignments, allowing students to engage in work aligned with whatever their interests are. By providing a more divergent assessment, automated plagiarism detectors are much more effective because the likelihood of false positives is much lower than in more constrained, convergent assessments. We also show how to combine this with partial automation of assessment. To examine this approach we compare the results of two subsequent years of delivery of the same second-year undergraduate programming module, and find that, using more creative assessments, female students average scores were substantially increased so that they outperform male students. While the results are not quite statistically significant (according to 2-way ANOVA), they demonstrate potential that could be verified with a larger sample.

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1145/3372356.3372369
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:28 January 2020
Date of first online publication:09 January 2020
Date first made open access:09 July 2020

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