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PASS: An automated system for program assessment


Computers & Education Volume 29, Number 4, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This paper describes PASS (Program Assessment using Specified Solutions), a software system which is used to assess C programs produced by students on an introductory programming course. In programming, it is possible to solve problems in many ways; some good, some bad. The majority of program assessment systems, to date, assess programs by either script based methods, which verify the correct output, or by program metrics, such as cyclomatic complexity. Neither of these methods takes into account the way in which a problem has been solved. Each will generate equal marks for both good and bad programs, provided they produce the correct output. PASS takes into account the way in which a problem is solved by performing a comparison of the submitted program with a solution plan, which is provided by the course tutor. A mark and feedback, based on how well the submitted program corresponds to the tutor's valid solution, is then returned by the system.


Thorburn, G. & Rowe, G. (1997). PASS: An automated system for program assessment. Computers & Education, 29(4), 195-206. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved September 28, 2023 from .

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