Next year, I will be teaching a course that has a significant programming component. While I have taught other courses before, it will be my first time teaching a programming course. Consequently, I was wondering: what is a typical design of the course assessment for a programming course, e.g., intro to Java/Python programming? In particular, how many assessment tasks are there, and how are they weighted? The assessment tasks that I have in mind would include individual assignments, group projects, and individual assessment (quizzes or a final exam). Are there other assessment tasks that are typically present in a programming course?

(I have taken a few programming courses in the past---unfortunately that was more than 10 years ago so, so my memory of my classes is quite hazy at this point.)

Response to comment: ask your colleagues who have taught similar courses

Unfortunately, my department is focused on an academic discipline where programming is not central, thus, most of the courses in my department do not involve any programming at all. Also, the course that I will be teaching is a new course that I am in the process of developing, thus I have a lot of freedom about deciding how to design the course assessment. Nevertheless, Nate Eldredge's suggestion is helpful in that I can ask the one or two colleagues in my department who are teaching programming courses (different contexts, different languages) how they assess students.

  • This can very easily be very region-specific, so it might be a good idea to include your region. If you want to get answers from different regions, it might be worth mentioning that in the question.
    – AndrejaKo
    Sep 27, 2016 at 11:06
  • I would start by asking your colleagues who have taught classes like this, to get a sense of what is common practice at your institution. You can read their syllabi. Sep 27, 2016 at 22:08
  • @NateEldredge That's a good suggestion. See my response in the edited question. Sep 28, 2016 at 1:57
  • 1
    You can also ask colleagues in other departments. Sep 28, 2016 at 2:45
  • It is the content of the assessments that matters, not the number and weighting. Sep 28, 2016 at 3:47

1 Answer 1


As a background, I have a BSc in Applied Informatics in Physics, and I have followed many programming courses in C, C++, Java, UML & Design Patterns, Matlab & Simulink, Xilinx, etc. Usually at my institution the final grade is composed by the following sum: 40% final exam(which can be also practically some problems in 3 hours, or more theoretically on paper), 30% individual project, 30% group project. The individual homework have a deadline to be proposed, usually at the half of the corresponding semester. Concerning the group project, I have to say that this is the most problematic. Many times I had to do almost the core of the project of it by myself, since the other members were not so focused. Hence, the bigger the group, the bigger the problems within the group. But I have to say that there were some group projects which turned to be a very collaborative, and this highly depends on the group members and their motivation. Concerning the curricula, the best would be to adapt it on their background. For example, it would be easier for them to follow a course in Java if they have already a strong background in OOP(C++/C#). Either way, from my point of view the only weakness in our faculty programming courses is that the transition from academic usage to industry is not very well performed. In particular, we haven't had many courses where the basic frameworks in different programming languages were presented and studied practiacally. Of course, that would require a lot of time, but the knowledge gained by the students increase very much and helps them adapt immediately to industry.

  • Yeah I've usually been in about this ballpark myself. I usually save 10% for "class participation" or something of that ilk.
    – Raydot
    Sep 28, 2016 at 23:33

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