Student work in each of the BBST courses will be reviewed and evaluated by the instructors as well as peer-reviewed by other students.
Each course will include several assessments, quizzes, assignments, and an exam. Each assessment has a primary objective. Here are typical examples of what we might be trying to achieve with a specific assignment:
- evaluate the student’s performance and make a decision if she/he has successfully completed the course or not yet.
- help the student identify strengths and gaps in knowledge and skill
- give the student practice working through a specific type of problem or task
- help the instructor understand where the course is failing to motivate the students or to help them learn
- motivate the students to spend a little more time, effort, or attention on favored tasks
To pass the course, you must participate appropriately (add value to the course with your participation), submit reasonably good assignment(s) and exam, and provide reasonable assessments of other students’ work.
We do have expectations for your participation in online discussions, including the comments you make when you review someone else’s work. For example, when you post your assignment, we will ask others to comment on it.
Assignments vary widely. For example:
- In the Bug Advocacy course, one assignment simply has you register as a developer in an open-source software project and search the bug tracking database for open bugs. This doesn’t require much knowledge or skill; it’s just a task that must be done to enable the next assignments.
- A much more complex assignment in Specification-Based Testing points students to a complex, contradictory group of specifications for a feature. It requires the student to make sense of it using the Heuristic Test Strategy Model. The student demonstrates an understanding of the specification, in terms of the model, by drawing a detailed concept map. This requires knowledge of the model, skill in active reading and modeling, and a lot of analytical work using active reading techniques.
It is impossible to write one set of guidelines that adequately describes our grading expectations for all of the assignments. There are some common themes, and we have developed a generic rubric that sets out baseline expectations that apply to most assignments.
Another expectation that applies to all assignments is that what you submit is your work and is not plagiarized from any other source. We fully describe the plagiarism policy within the course, in Intellectual Property Policy
In addition to these general expectations, we will describe grading expectations for each assignment. However, as you get more experienced, we will expect you to be able to structure your answers yourself, and so instructions in later courses will be less detailed.
Exams (and their Study Guides)
In many of the courses (perhaps all of them), the instructor will provide a study guide that includes a set of possible exam questions. The actual questions on the final exam will be drawn from this study guide.
We encourage you to study for the exam with friends, to research your answers to the exam questions, to write drafts of your answers in advance, and collect comments from your colleagues.
Because you have the exam questions well before the exam, we expect examination answers to be well written. That is, they should be:
- directly responsive to the asked question
- focused on the question that was asked, without discussing issues
We provide a video with a detailed example of our grading style, grading four very different answers to one question:
It is a good idea to create an outline of your answer before writing out the complete answer. This will help you clarify and focus your thinking.
- Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab’s useful tutorial on writing a research paper includes excellent information on Why and How to Create a Useful Outline.
For more information on outlines, please visit this web page on outlines from Indiana University.
We expect you to answer the exam itself without help, without pasting any part of any answer that you created for the exam while studying, and more generally without referring to or using any notes or any other sources when you answer the exam.
- Using sources or getting assistance of any kind when you write the exam is cheating.
- Writing the exam for longer than the allowed time is also cheating.
- If the instructor discovers that you cheated on the exam, you will be expelled from the course.
Overall Assessment Strategy
Here are some working notes on the strategy of assessment in the software testing course. They are rough guides to the thinking behind the academic version of the course.
- Kaner, Assessment in the Software Testing Course
- Kaner, Carts before horses: Using preparatory exercises to motivate lecture material
In each course, deciding if a student has successfully completed the course is a subjective judgment made by the instructors. Our goal is to have all students in every class complete it successfully. However, students have low chances of successfully completing a course if they:
- does not submit a critical assignment or exam
- does not submit thoughtful assessments of peer work by the course deadline
We cannot watch you as you write your exam, so it is possible for students to cheat. If the instructors have grounds to believe that a student has cheated on an exam, they can expel that student from the course.
Cem Kaner, BBST Learning Objectives