Increasing the similarity of programming code structures to accelerate the marking process in a new semi-automated assessment approach

The increased number of students (in higher education) learning programming languages makes the efficient and effective assessment of student work more important. Thus, academic researchers have focused on the automation of programming assignment marking. However, the fully automated approach to marking has its issues. This study provides an approach geared towards the reduction of marking times while providing comprehensive, effective and consistent feedback on novice programmers’ code script. To assess novices’ code script, a new semi-automated assessment approach has been developed. This paper focuses on the semi-automatic assessment of programming code segments, partially explaining the increasing similarity between code segments using generic rules. The code segments referred to are ‘for’ and ‘while’ loops and sequence parts of code script. The initial results and findings for the proposed approach are positive and point to the need for further research in this area.