A Comparison of Immediate and Scheduled Feedback in Introductory Programming Projects

Juho Leinonen, Paul Denny, Jacqueline Whalley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


How students are assessed has a powerful effect on their strategies for studying and their learning. When designing assessments, instructors should consider how different approaches for providing feedback to students could encourage positive learning behaviours. One such design is the use of interim deadlines that enable students to receive and respond to feedback. This is used to encourage students to start early and thus reduce the negative effects of procrastination. If multiple submissions are allowed, penalty schemes can be included to encourage students to reflect deeply on the feedback they receive, rather than developing an over-reliance on autograders. In this work we describe two approaches to feedback used over two consecutive semesters for a final project in a large introductory programming course. In both semesters, the complexity and structure of the final project was similar and students received identical instruction. In the first instance of the course students could submit their work prior to two scheduled interim deadlines, after which they would receive automated feedback, before meeting a final third deadline. In the second instance, students received automated feedback immediately upon submission but with increasing penalties to discourage excessive submissions. In both cases, the ability to receive automated feedback -- both scheduled and immediate -- was designed to encourage early participation with the project. Under the two feedback schemes, we observed different patterns of behaviour -- particularly for the lower performing students. We explore the benefits and drawbacks of the two schemes and consider implications for future project grading.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSIGCSE 2022: Proceedings of the 53rd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education V. 1
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-9070-5
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2022
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education - Providence, United States
Duration: 2 Mar 20225 Mar 2022
Conference number: 53


ConferenceACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
Abbreviated titleSIGCSE
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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