NSF: Collaborative Research: Testing Tutor – An Inquiry-Based Pedagogy and Supporting Tool to Improve Student Learning of Software Testing Concepts


Project Description

Most testing pedagogy approaches in computer science education either provide students with feedback in terms of raw coverage information (i.e., which statements or paths are not tested) or in terms of a list of instructor test cases that were missing from the student’s test suite. Both of these types of feedback are useful, but neither motivate the student to understand why their test suite is incomplete. An inductive learning approach is a better alternative (to simply providing the answers) where students construct and reconstruct their knowledge through discovery and guided learning techniques. This project aims to implement the  Testing Tutor tool to facilitate inquiry based learning pedagogy (a type of inductive learning) that will help students become independent learners, clarify their conceptual understanding of testing concepts, and become better testers. Gaining a deeper understanding about fundamental testing concepts, formed through their own investigation, will more likely help students better understand how to be a good tester and subsequently improve their test suites in future projects. The goals of this proposal are to: 1) Develop the Testing Tutor pedagogy and support tool to provide feedback to help CS students’ improve their understanding of testing concepts and their ability to systematically use the concepts to fully test their software; and 2) Study the learning effects of the Testing Tutor pedagogy on the understanding of fundamental testing concepts and the ability to apply those concepts.