Testing the knowledge of a subject that students have learned is an important part of teaching. This is often done by a final assessment with one final test at the end of the course. But continuous formative assessment, where students get graded assessments throughout the term is slowly integrating more and more into the grading methods of university teachers and is a very helpful tool in online or distance learning.
Practicing coding is a key factor in acquiring the desired skill in programming education. Continuous assessment responds perfectly to this need and simulates a real-life work environment as the student will often be handed small deadlines it has to deal with regularly later in their career.
Courses with continuous assessment force students to keep up with the study material as their understanding of the material is checked continuously. Students study every subtopic individually and the affected repetition as a part of the learning curve is also beneficial for both student and teacher. If a student runs into a problem in some part of the material this will be noticed quickly, giving the student enough time to fill in the knowledge gap about that topic. A study showed that by using continuous assessment, the failure rate was very low, between 5-10%, supporting the proactive approach which is impossible with a final exam .
Another great advantage is that students can directly use the given feedback for the practice in later assessments of the course to eradicate structural problems in an early stage, helping students solving the problems. A study from 2019 used the success rate, which is the percentage of correct solutions among the number of attempts. It is an objective measure of the interaction between students and their feedback and shows that consistent feedback improves academic performance .