Automatic marking of R assessment

Over the past few years, I have been teaching two undergraduate courses, Stochastic Processes and Survival Models, which are taught at Heriot-Watt’s campuses in Edinburgh and Putrajaya. Recently, for both courses, I have created assignments which require students to 1) submit a report and 2) submit an R script with any code used for any simulations, data analysis, calculations, plots etc. Each student has initial information or data which is specific for their student ID and the students are required to calculate certain numerical or vector quantities, or create functions with specified inputs.

To facilitate marking, I have developed a relatively simple system with R and Python for automatically marking their code. The reports are then manually assessed using SpeedGrader / Turnitin.

In this talk, I want to briefly explain the rationale for using this set-up, challenges that were faced and advice for anyone considering something similar, along with a brief demonstration of the set-up. Most of this talk will not be particularly Python or R specific so could be of interest to anyone interested in having a system for automatically marking code used in mathematical calculations.