Publication details

Code Quality Defects Across Introductory Programming Topics



Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Proceedings of the 53rd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education V. 1
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Informatics

Web ACM Digital library
Keywords introductory programming; python; code quality; feedback
Description Research on feedback in introductory programming focuses mostly on incomplete and incorrect programs. However, most of the functionally correct programs also contain defects that call for feedback. We analyzed 114,000 solutions to 161 short coding problems in Python and compiled a catalog of 32 defects in code quality. We found that most correct solutions contain some defects and that students do not stop making them if they do not receive targeted feedback. The catalog of defects, together with their prevalence across common topics like expressions, loops, and lists, informs educators which defects to address in which lectures and guides the development of exercises on code quality. Additionally, we describe defect detectors, which can be used to generate valuable feedback to students automatically.
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