Assessing a Programming Assignment
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The programming assignment provides a number of challenges.  Generally there is a master file or makefile that controls a number of other files and the resulting application must be compiled and displayed.  In addition code is inspected and in some case output generated and examined.  Marking this type of assignment can be tedious and time consuming.


The following tutorial will explain how Markers Assistant can be used to assess a programming assignment and it will highlight the methods developed to over come the software limitations experienced when assessing electronic documents.


The tutorial can be found at C:\Program Files\Surreal Software\Markers Assistant v3.1\Tutorials\VB folder.


The files contained with in this folder are:

The folders contained with in the submissions folder are:

Each submission folder contains the various files required to build the assignment.


Start Markers Assistant.

  1. Select File - Open Existing - Project File


  1. Navigate to the C:\Program Files\Surreal Software\Markers Assistant v3.1\Tutorials\VB folder and select the VB-Assignment.mpj file and select OK.


  1. This file contains the assignment description, marking guide and some initial settings.  Generally the mpj file will also contain the student list and any marking completed.


  1. Markers Assistant will load the marking guide description and marking guide items and any students previously loaded.


  1. At this stage you can adjust the settings but you cannot edit the marking guide as students are already loaded.


  1. Select File - Preferences and review the setting available.  


  1. Select Tools - Edit Marking Guide and explored the tools and functions that enable you to change the marking guide contents and associated item marks.


  1. We will assume at this stage that the marking guide is ready and all the preferences set correctly.  You may change the preferences at any stage but you may not change the marking guide once students have been loaded into the application.


  1. If students are not loaded or included in your project you can load a student list.  To load a student list, select Student - Open Student List.  A Student List dialog will be displayed.  Select the Browse button to open a file.


  1. Navigate to the C:\Program Files\Surreal Software\Markers Assistant v3.1\Tutorials\VB folder and select the studetList.csv file.  This file contains 3 students details.


  1. The student information will be displayed as read by the application.



  1. At this stage you can adjust the information to match the Makers Assistant format.  You will notice that the NameEmail and Group fields do not match the data.  Change the Group to Name, Name to Email and change the Email to Group to ensure the data is read in to the correct order.  Sometimes headings maybe included in the student list data being read in.  You can ignore these headings by selecting the Ignore First Line check box as desired.


  1. When you are happy with the student list, select the OK button and the students will be loaded into the application.


  1. The first student in the list will be active and if the settings are correct the students assignment will be loaded and displayed.


  1. If the students assignment does not load then there are a number of possible changes that must be made.  These include:


  1. At anytime you can select the Student - Run command or select the  button to display a list of files stored in the currently active students submission folder.  You can select any file displayed and the application will use the Master Program to run and display the file.   Alternatively, you could select the Tools - Find / Run File command to display the file using its associated application.


  1. Optional : At this stage you may wish to divide the project into subproject so you can give them to various marker.  To do this you can use the File - Divide / Extract Project command.  Once the projects are returned you can use the File - Merge Projects command to rebuild the single project from the completed project files.


  1. Once the students submission is displayed you may begin to mark the assignment according to the given criteria.


  1. At this point let us assume the item 'Main form Tab index is appropriate' was inaccurate.  There a number of options that you have to reflect this.

You could uncheck the  'Main form Tab index is appropriate' item and take of the 2 allocated marks but perhaps the student deserves at least 1 mark for their efforts.  


Select the  'Main form Tab index is appropriate' on the marking guide with the RIGHT mouse button.  The Edit Item dialog will be displayed.



Adjust the mark either by typing a value of 1 in the Mark Value field or select the down arrow to reduce the mark by 1.  You cannot give fractions of a mark, only whole numbers.


At this point you might also want to provide a comment that explains what was required for this item  For instance you may wish to explain what the 'Main form Tab index is appropriate' is designed for, the type of functionality that was expected and ways to ensure they have it correct.  This comment should not be particular to the student being marked as all students that loose marks for this item will receive this comment.  This is your opportunity to educate the students by providing examples of what was required or expected.  You could also provide a good examples of code which you could cut and paste from a student assignment while your are marking.


Also at this stage you may want to adjust the Item Description of the item as it appears on the marking guide.


  1. Add a comment as desired.


  1. Select OK to save you changes.


  1. The mark for the student will be reflected in the marking guide and the total for the student will be adjusted accordingly.  Also you will notice a '#' symbol at the end of the item description.  This indicates a comment has been made for this item.


  1. As there are many files submitted with this assignment is it is sometimes a requirement to examine there contents.  Select the Tools - Display Other Files command. 



All files present in the student submission folder will be displayed in the tabs.  Select the desired tab to view the contents (Text only) of the files.  

Sometimes a program might require a slight adjustment to one of these files to get it to compile and run.  All of the files maybe editted and saved to enable this.  All files saved are backed up and stored in the same folder.


  1. Continue to examine the students assignment and adjust marks accordingly.  


  1. At any stage you may also add a comment that is specific to the student.  For instance you may wish to comment on the presentation of the information or anything that was not covered within the marking guide.


  1. Select the <New> item in the Student Comments and Adjustments area on the marking guide.  


  1. Enter a comment and if you wish to add or remove marks, add an adjustment value.


  1. Select the OK button to save the comment.  The comment will be added to the students list of comments and a copy stored in the All Comments list enabling it to be used on another student if desired.  The total will be adjust to reflect any mark you may have applied for the comment.



  1. Once you have finished marking the student, select the Student - Next command or   button from the Toolbar to navigate to the next student.  


  1. Repeat the marking process.


  1. It is important to save your marking often.  Each time you move from one student to next, automatic backs up are made to ensure you never loose any work.


  1. Once you have completed the marking and added all you comments, you can now begin to examine the marking from a group perspective.  


  1. There are a number of tools that enable you to examine the marking.


  1. Select the Tools - Statistics command to open the Statistic dialog.


  1. Select the Tools - Student Manager command to open the Student Manager dialog.


  1. Prior to delivering the results to the students, you can preview the formatted results the students will receive.  Select the Student - View Formatted Results.  Depending on the preferences set, you will either be presented a Text or HTML formatted view of the current active students results.


  1. When you are ready to deliver the result to the students, you have two methods available.


  1. You may also wish to output a summary of the results to an external file for either uploading to another program or web site.  Select the Student - Export Results and specify a file to save the data to.  You can select the data items you want saved by selecting the various options in the dialog.