Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer

Promoting Engagement in a CS1 Course with Assessment for Learning


This practice report discusses the evolution of a CS1 Course taught at the University of Liège, Belgium. Over the last seven years several teaching activities have been thought to complement traditional theoretical courses and exercise sessions in order to promote students’ engagement. The result is aligned with (i) the principles of assessment for learning, which consists in leveraging the assessment to improve the students learning, and (ii) the concept of blended learning. This report describes the difficulties the students faced and what we implemented to assist our course evolution. We also present and discuss results showing that, despite a high drop-out rate, we managed to engage students to work on a regular basis and, in some cases, raise their performance levels.

Published: 2021-03-15
Pages:102 to 111
Section:Practice Reports
How to Cite
Liénardy, S., Leduc, L., & Donnet, B. (2021). Promoting Engagement in a CS1 Course with Assessment for Learning. Student Success, 12(1), 102-111.

Author Biographies

University of Liège
Belgium Belgium

Simon Liénardy graduated as Civil Engineering in Computer Science in 2013.  He works as Teaching Assistant and Doctoral Student (under the supervision of Prof. B. Donnet) at the Institute Montefiore (Université de Liège) since 2013.  His research interest are in Computer Science Education, in particular CS1 courses and Graphical Loop Invariant Based Programming.  Simon is the main contributor of CAFÉ, a system  to automatically  assess and provide feedback to student’s work. 

University of Liège
Belgium Belgium

Dr Laurent Leduc is a Senior Researcher in Learning Sciences at the Institute for Training and Research in Higher Education at the University of Liège (ULiège). Since 2010, he is also in charge of its Centre de Didactique Supérieure - CDS - aiming to pedagogically support and train professors in charge of Freshmen, and the Scientific coordinator of the Feedback First-year Project - FFYP of the ULiège - aiming to promote and support the implementation of good teaching practices related to Assessment for Learning (AfL) and formative feedbacks in First Year courses. A Course Syllabus specialist, Leduc is author of the book Rédiger des Plans de cours. De la théorie à la pratique. 

University of Liège
Belgium Belgium

Dr. Prof. Benoit Donnet  received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in 2006 and has been a PostDoc until 2011 at the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium). He joined the Montefiore Institute at the Université de Liège in 2011 where he was appointed successively as Assistant Professor and Associate Professor. His research interests are about Internet measurements (measurements scalability, Internet topology discovery, measurements applied to security), network modeling, middleboxes, new Internet architectures (LISP, Segment Routing), and Computer Science Education (focusing on CS1 course and programming learning).

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795