Continuous Assessment in the Evolution of a CS1 Course: The Pass Rate/Workload Ratio

  • Maria J. Blesa
  • Amalia Duch
  • Joaquim Gabarró
  • Jordi Petit
  • Maria SernaEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 583)


The first programming course (Programming-1, CS1) in the Informatics Engineering Degree of the Facultat d’Informàtica de Barcelona was completely redesigned in 2006 in order to reinforce the learn-by-doing methodology. Along the following eight years several pedagogical measures —mostly related with continous assessment— were introduced with the aim of increasing the pass rate of the course without lowering its high quality standards. This paper analyzes to what extent the added workload on faculty entailed by these measures affects the pass rate. We use a classical marginal cost-benefit approach —from Economics— to compare these two values along time. This process allows us to relate the evolution of the pass rate of students with the workload of the faculty through a productivity curve, as well as to assess the impact of each pedagogical measure. We conclude that, for this course, continuous assessment is expensive. In fact, abstracting from short term oscillations, the slope of the productivity curve is close to zero.


CS1 Marginal cost-benefit analysis Continuous assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria J. Blesa
    • 1
  • Amalia Duch
    • 1
  • Joaquim Gabarró
    • 1
  • Jordi Petit
    • 1
  • Maria Serna
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.ALBCOM Research Group, Computer Science DepartmentUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech.BarcelonaSpain

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