Bringing PASTA to the Computer Science Education Community

Project Description

The PASTA system, for automated marking and feedback in computer programming assessment, represents a substantial investment of effort by many members of the School of Information Technologies over several years. Used successfully with over 5000 students and in 14 courses, it provides students with immediate automated feedback and helps teachers providing more insightful feedback to students and systematic marking. It has evolved in response to lessons learned over successive offerings of core units in the School.
In this project, we will address PASTA’s key shortcomings as they now stand. We will improve its usability and security, extend its support for multiple programming languages, and provide learning analytics tools for both students and teachers. Following these improvements, we will make PASTA available beyond the School, and work to foster a wider community of users and contributors.

The Team

Dr Bryn Jeffries
Associate Professor
Irena Koprinska
Vincent Gramoli
Associate Professor
Kalina Yacef

2017 Project Updates


We have engaged the services of the Sydney Informatics Hub, based in the School of IT building, to perform most the PASTA improvements using an Agile development. As part of this we reviewed the objectives and chose a better timeline. Most importantly we have prioritised support for Matlab, which is widely used across FEIT. This has progressed well, and has been trialled in the AI unit at SIT this semester. We will be looking for opportunities to use it more widely next semester. The next big area of focus is on security, where we will be providing better sandboxing of tests.