The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
Forrest Hill & 80 South Bridge

PhD Thesis #9303

Title:Recognising the Design Decisions in Prolog Programs as a Prelude to Critiquing
Date: 1993
Abstract:This thesis presents an approach by which an automated teaching system can analyse the design of novices' Prolog programs for tutorial critiquing. Existing methodologies for tutorial analysis of programs focus on the kind of small programming examples that are used only in the early stages of teaching. If an automated teaching system is to be widely useful, it must cover a substantial amount of the teaching syllabus, and a critiquing system must be able to analyse and critique programs written during the later stages of the syllabus.The work is motivated by a study of students' Prolog programs which were written as assessed exercises towards the end of their course. These programs all work (in some sense), yet they reveal a wide range of design flaws (bodges) for which some form of tutoring would be useful. They present problems for any automated analysis in terms of the size of the programs, the number of individual decisions that must be made to create each program and the range of correct and incorrect decisions that may be made in each case.This study identifies two areas in the analysis of students' program in which further work is needed. Existing work has focused only on the design and implementation decisions that relate closely to the programming language.

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