Assessment of an Automated Assessment Tool for Entry-Level Computer Science Courses

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Title: Assessment of an Automated Assessment Tool for Entry-Level Computer Science Courses

Mentor: Dr. Md. Tahmidul Islam Molla

Summary: Shortage of staffing and resources is an ongoing problem in computer science education in the United States. Due to increasing student class size and high demand of CS professionals in industries, universities often struggle to manage adequate CS teachers and teaching assistants for entry-level computer science courses. Automated Assessment Tools (AATs) can be a potential solution to this issue. AATs have been successfully used in intro-level undergraduate CS education for decades. TA-Bot, a modular AAT, developed by a team of researchers at Marquette University, has been helping instructors to provide automated feedback on student submissions for the past 25 years and serving thousands of students to date. TA-Bot automatically grades student submissions, provides useful feedback for debugging and testing coding problems, and allows students to get customized help on their codes. TA-Bot is currently deployed for COSC 1010 (Intro to Software Development) and COSC 1020 (Object-Oriented Software Design) in the Department of Computer Science at Marquette University. This project aims to assess the effectiveness of the TA-Bot in COSC 1010 and COSC 1020 by getting direct feedback from the students and instructors. This will help to understand the usefulness and acceptability of the TA-Bot and determine potential features that could be further refined to better serve the students and instructors.

Student Research Activities: The REU fellow will be responsible for performing the following major tasks: • Perform systematic review of automated assessment tools. • Conduct surveys and semi-structured interviews. • Perform quantitative and qualitative analysis of the collected data. • Assisting in writing academic articles.

Preferred Skills: Experience in Python and Java programming languages and an interest in developing educational assessment tools.