Assessment in Software Development for Competitive Environments: An AI Strategy Development Case Study

Manuel Palomo-Duarte*, Antonio García-Domínguez, Antonio Balderas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Competitions are being widely used to motivate students in diverse learning processes, including those in computer programming. This paper presents a methodology for designing and assessing competitive learning scenarios that allow students to develop three different coding skills: the ability to compete against unknown competitors, the ability to compete against known competitors and the ability to compete against refined versions of known competitors. The proposal is based on peer code review, implemented as an improvement cycle after the dissemination of the code among participants. A case study evaluating the methodology was conducted with two cohorts of students in an undergraduate course. The analysis of the obtained grades suggests that while performance after our assistance was improved, students could still fail or succeed independently of the assistance. Complementary data from student questionnaires and supervisor observations are aligned with this finding. As a conclusion, the evidence supports the validity of the methodology. Additionally, several guidelines based on the experience are provided to transfer the proposal to other environments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1566
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright: © 2021 by the authors.
Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
This article is an open access article
distributed under the terms and
conditions of the Creative Commons
Attribution (CC BY) license (https://

Funding: This research was funded by Spanish National Research Agency (AEI), through the project VISAIGLE (TIN2017-85797-R) with ERDF funds.


  • computer science education
  • programming
  • competition-based learning
  • assessment
  • open source software


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