Five Years with Kattis - Using an Automated Assessment System in Teaching

by Emma Enström, Gunnar Kreitz, Fredrik Niemelä, Pehr Söderman and Viggo Kann

Published in IEEE Frontiers in Education (FIE) 2011


Automated assessment systems have been em- ployed in computer science (CS) courses at a number of different universities. Such systems are especially appli- cable in teaching algorithmic problem solving since they can automatically test if an algorithm has been correctly implemented, i.e., that it performs its specified function on a set of inputs. Being able to implement algorithms that work correctly is a crucial skill for CS students in their professional role, but it can be difficult to convey the importance of this in a classroom situation.

Programming and problem solving education supported by automated grading has been used since 2002 at our department. We study, using action research methodo- logy, different strategies for deploying automated assess- ment systems in CS courses. Towards this end, we have developed an automated assessment system and both introduced it into existing courses and constructed new courses structured around it. Our primary data sources for evaluation consists of course evaluations, statistics on students' submitted solutions, and experience teaching the courses.

Authors of this paper have been participating in teaching all of the courses mentioned here.