Documentation for Teaching

The Code Expert Documentation for Teaching

Feedback Guidelines

This documentation was adapted from Vytautas Astrauskas Feedback Guidelines.

This Feedback Guidelines are suggestions from our side how to provide feedback. You should always ask your lecturers or head TA about the guidelines for your course.


Grading should not start before the deadline is over. You should decide and communicate how late submissions are handled.

Suggested Grading Guidelines

Coding Tasks

For coding tasks, the autograder should be the king. This means:

  1. You should not increase the score given by the autograder. (If you believe that this should be done nevertheless, discuss this with the head TA.)
  2. If the autograder awarded XP for the submission, you are should not decrease the score in such a way that the student loses the gained XP, unless you find out that a student
    1. cheated (for example, by hard-coding their solution against the provided test cases, using libraries or not-yet-introduced C++ features that significantly simplify the task, etc.)
    2. violated the exercise requirements (for example, by not using recursion when explicitly requested, by using multiplication when it is explicitly stated not to, etc.)

    In these two cases, you should also inform the head TA with the description of the situation and ask the head TA or the lecturers whether we should accept such a solution. If the answer is that the solution in question is not acceptable, please set the score to 0.

Note: it is important to always inform about the cases in which you are planning to decrease the score such that the student loses XP to ensure that all teaching assistants grade in the same way.

Free Text Tasks

For free text tasks the following grading scheme is suggested:

  • 0 – No solution at all
  • 1 – Very bad
  • 2 – Minor issues
  • 3 – Great

Students will earn XP if they get at least 1 point. The head TA should provide the TAs with a more concrete grading scheme.

Steps for Providing Feedback in Code Expert

  1. Open code expert.
  2. Select My Exercise Groups in the main navigation on the top.
  3. Select Review in the sidebar on the left.
  4. In the Ready to review tab, you will see the exercises ready for review. The tasks that still have some unreviewed submissions have a red counter next to the Review button:

  5. Click on the Review button to start reviewing the task. This will open the IDE with a panel on the left that allows choosing the student submission to review (click on the image to see the explanations):

  6. To open the student submission, click on the student’s name. This will open the student’s project in the IDE.
  7. Enter the feedback for the student in the Feedback for … box:
    Please use Markdown formatting when providing feedback. You can find a Markdown reference here: You can also write code and math see here. To see how the feedback will be displayed to the student, click on Preview.

  8. If you need, you can edit the student’s code to check if it works in certain scenarios, or if an issue could be fixed with minor changes. By default, your changes will not be visible to the student. If you want to make your changes visible to the student, tick the Student can see your project changes checkbox.
  9. For the free text exercises set the score by using the slider:

    The pass marks the score that awards experience points.

  10. Click on Submit Feedback to make your feedback visible to students.

Provide Quality Feedback

Note: This section is based on this handout. The purpose of feedback is to communicate to students:

  • how good their submission is compared to the expected solution;
  • what they need to do to improve their submission.

Coding Tasks

Provide a comment on the autograder result:

  • If the submission got full points and is correct, congratulate the student that they did a great job.
  • If the submission is flawed:
    • If the submission got full points because the test suite is not good enough, point out that the student was lucky and describe the problematic case(s).
    • Try to understand what misconception the student has or what they don’t understand. Then, try to clarify that.
    • If you think that, after your clarification, the student can fix the submission on their own, encourage them to do so. Otherwise, point out how to fix the submission. When deciding whether or not to provide a, keep in mind that the student will have access to the master solution later on.

If the submission was correct, but you nevertheless think that the submission has critical issues not related to functional correctness, point out to the student:

  1. why this is a problem;
  2. how to address it.

If student’s code is hard to read, point them to your style guide.

Free Text Tasks

  1. Explain how good the submission is compared to the master solution.
  2. Try to understand what the student did not understand and try to clarify this misunderstanding. Again, keep in mind the availability of the master solution and focus on the bits they didn’t understand.


If the student’s submission has many issues, point out the most important ones, so that the student can focus on these. However, do not forget to mention that you are describing only the most important issues, so that the student does not assume that these are the only issues.