Marking Coursework

Overview

Every week, our students complete coursework which aims to

  • Put what they've learnt into practice

  • Stretch their abilities

  • Display progress in their learning

Each week's coursework consists of

  • Reading

  • Watching videos, either

    • Explainers

    • Introductions, or

    • Code Alongs

  • Coding Exercises

and

  • Coding Challenges

At the end of each week, students submit homework these challenges and we assess and give feedback on them. This feedback is a vital part of our students development.

Homework Marking Process

1) Finding Coursework

Coursework including code is always hosted as a Pull Request on GitHub.

Every week of the course has some coursework attached to it. If you are an Education Buddy it can be easiest to have your buddy send you the homework to review. If not there are more instruction in Where do students submit coursework?

Additionally, you can also find all of a students open pull requests by using https://github.com/pulls?q=is%3Apr+is%3Aopen+author%3A + {GITHUB+ID}

Exercise 1 (5 minutes)
Can you find the homework from these students?
1) Git Week 1 - Chris Owen
2) All of ChrisOwen101's open pull requests

2) Giving Feedback

Be Positive

Above all else be positive and be kind. Our students want to learn and want to understand.

You should pull out small wins from bad code and encourage them to continue and try again. Many of our students suffer from low confidence and a well timed comment of motivation can be all it takes to push them to success.

If in doubt, consult our key rules.

Directing to Resources

If you can tell that a student has been struggling with a particular area of the homework one key way that you can help is to

  1. Acknowledge that they have struggled

  2. Re-assure them that many people struggle with such problems

  3. Direct them to an online resource that will help them understand the problem better

We should try to shy away from writing long, complex explanations to students problems. This can be a time sink, especially when great resources already exist.

Please note: Do not just link to documentation! Link to a tutorial or guide that explains the documentation.

Fixing Bugs

If the bug is a simple compilation or formatting error it's perfectly fine to suggest a fix to the issue. For example, an incorrect relative URL is a simple error that does not imply a deeper misunderstanding of the content and so can be safely fixed.

Prompting to Ask Questions

Make every error a teaching moment, mention that you see other students struggling with the same concepts and that asking questions on Slack can be a way to remedy their problems.

Explaining an Obvious Mental Model Issue

When a student implements code in a way that seems nonsensical the root cause can often be a misconception in how they have built their mental model. If you can obviously tell from their homework what their misunderstanding is then you are encouraged to correct them.

If they seem to fundamentally misunderstand a concept then it is best to refer them back to the source material.

Formatting

It never hurts to remind the student of the importance of proper formatting and indentation.

All code that our students write should follow our Code Style Guide (coming soon!).

Quickly Giving Feedback

Visual Studio Github Plug-in

The VS Code studio plug-in can help speed up moving between pull requests and making comments.

https://github.com/microsoft/vscode-pull-request-github

It allows you to make comments from directly inside and VS Code and allows each comparision between Pull Requests.

Github Desktop

Using Github Desktop makes it easy to see all of the open pull requests for a Repository and move quickly between them.

Simply navigate to the Branch tab at the top of the screen then select the Pull Request tab

3) Grading Coursework

For our records and to track student progress it is important that we track how well the student is progressing through our course. This can happen in a variety of places.

  • Class Tracking Spreadsheet

  • Google Classroom

  • Trello Cards

Please consult your Class Coordinators for the best place to record this information as it will vary from class to class.

This is, above all else, an indicator of the students abilities and is not comprehensive. Different teachers will grade homework at different levels and we should be aware of this.

Although grading makes the tracking easier, we aim to give students feedback rather than grades.

Please review our Marking Guide in the Syllabus for more details about Grading.

4) Label the Pull Request

When you have given feedback it is important you add the label "reviewed".

If the homework has not been completed you should also add the tag "not-completed"

These labels help us to tell which coursework is still needing to be marked each week.

5) Recording Grade

As mentioned earlier, it is important to record your students grades in a single, accessible location.

Most commonly, you will be recording this in a Google Spreadsheet.

Please consult your Class Coordinators for the best place to record this information as it will vary from class to class.

Where do students submit coursework?

The most reliable place to find the coursework for each week is on the relevant homework page for each lesson. For example, this is the first lesson for HTML/CSS

https://syllabus.codeyourfuture.io/html-css/week-1/lesson

And here is the relevant coursework

https://syllabus.codeyourfuture.io/html-css/week-1/homework