Benchmarking introductory programming exams: Some preliminary results

Simon, Judy Sheard, Daryl D'Souza, Peter Klemperer, Leo Porter, Juha Sorva, Martijn Stegeman, Daniel Zingaro

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    The programming education literature includes many observations that pass rates are low in introductory programming courses, but few or no comparisons of student performance across courses. This paper addresses that shortcoming. Having included a small set of identical questions in the final examinations of a number of introductory programming courses, we illustrate the use of these questions to examine the relative performance of the students both across multiple institutions and within some institutions. We also use the questions to quantify the size and overall difficulty of each exam. We find substantial differences across the courses, and venture some possible explanations of the differences. We conclude by explaining the potential benefits to instructors of using the same questions in their own exams.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research (ICER 2016)
    Subtitle of host publicationSeptember 8–12, 2016, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
    EditorsJudy Sheard, Josh Tenenberg, Donald Chinn, Brian Dorn
    Place of PublicationNew York, New York
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Print)9781450344494
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2016
    EventInternational Computing Education Research Conference 2016 - Monash University Law Chambers (MULC), Melbourne, Australia
    Duration: 8 Sep 201612 Sep 2016
    Conference number: 12th (Proceedings)


    ConferenceInternational Computing Education Research Conference 2016
    Abbreviated titleICER 2016
    Internet address

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