A project led by Claudia Szabo and Nick Falkner has been accepted for ITiCSE 2017.
Claudia Szabo and Nick Falkner, Silence, Words, or Grades: The Effects of Lecturer Feedback in Multi-Revision Assignments. Accepted for ITiCSE 2017.
Detailed in-depth feedback on programming assignments is beneficial because it identifies specific software design and development aspects that students can improve on. For the feedback to be effective, it is important that students are given the opportunity to address the feedback in a timely manner. However, detailed in-depth feedback often needs to be manually written by the lecturer or marker, especially for large and complex final year assignments where automated test suites are difficult to implement, introducing potential delay in providing the feedback. Following existing work, we propose a two-stage assignment design where students receive feedback on their final submission and are then given the opportunity to address the feedback. We analyse 147 assignment submissions and show that this assignment design improves assignment marks when compared to a single-stage submission, with failure rates dropping by up to 30\%. To determine the impact of in-depth detailed feedback, we compare the learning outcomes across two years where students taking the two-stage assignment were given either detailed feedback or simple feedback consisting of component marks at the initial stage. We show the benefits of both approaches and analyze the potential advantages of providing more costly, manual feedback.