Applying Test-Driven Development for Improved Feedback and Automation of Grading in Academic Courses on Software Development

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12271)


Grading student assignments and projects in software development courses is a time-consuming task. The lecturer has to download individually each assignment, compile it and manually check that the implementation satisfies the requirements. In addition, the students would like to get early feedback on their solutions, not only as guidelines on whether their solution meets the expectations of the lecturers, but also a way to estimate the current number of points their solution deserves. In this work, we propose the use of the test-driven development process as an approach to both guide the students during the implementation of their projects and as a way to speed up and make the grading process more scalable. Furthermore, we show how we take advantage of community-based software development tools such as GitHub to support our approach. We evaluate the proposed approach by applying it to an academic course for developing web applications. The results show that the approach reduces the grading effort by 60% and that the early feedback it provides was appreciated by students.


Test-driven development Test automation Academic course Software development Course self-evaluation 



This work has received partial funding from the Electronic Component Systems for European Leadership Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 737494. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and Sweden, France, Spain, Italy, Finland, the Czech Republic.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Science and EngineeringÅbo Akademi UniversityTurkuFinland

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