Beyond the Score: The Importance of Feedback in Coding Assessments
by Codeaid Team
Coding tests can tell you many things about a candidate, but what most don’t do is tell you how they respond to feedback.
All coding tests out there (with the exception Codeaid tests, of course) are one-and-done affairs. The candidate takes the test, gets a score, and that’s it. The problem? It’s not an accurate reflection of how real development work is done, and it also misses out on the prime opportunity to discover if a candidate is willing and able to improve when given the chance. No one wants to hire someone who does not learn (or want to learn) from their mistakes, right?
In the real development world there are feedback loops
Code reviews have become a staple in modern software development, providing developers with the opportunity to receive feedback from senior colleagues. This feedback is often tracked in a system as specific issues that need to be addressed, while other, more general feedback is provided through verbal or written communication.
The beauty of receiving general feedback is that it can be immediately applied or used as a reference point for future development. It can also serve as an excellent nudge in the right direction to improve one’s coding skills by addressing areas of weakness and building on strengths.
Another important feedback loop is the interaction between developers and Quality Assurance (QA) engineers. QA engineers find bugs, and developers fix them. It’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship when done right. An efficient interaction between a developer and QA results in much fewer reopened bugs. However, if the bug description is not clear or if the coding is sloppy, then reopens can be the norm instead of the exception.
We need to start testing this way
A feedback loop is a crucial aspect of learning and growth, and it is no different when it comes to coding assessments. In Codeaid, we have introduced a great new premium feature just for this purpose called Feedback & Fix. It works by giving the candidate a certain level of information – not too much, not too little – about what was not correct in their first submission. They are then given the chance to resubmit an improved version within a certain timeframe. Once their second attempt is complete and submitted, the test is re-graded, and the employer can see both the original and new scores.
So, when should you use a feedback feature like this?
Well, there are plenty of scenarios where it could come in handy, such as:
If you’re on the fence about a candidate, giving them the chance to improve their submission could provide you with the information you need to make a decision.
If a candidate seems to rush through their work and make sloppy mistakes, a feedback loop could encourage them to slow down and focus on quality.
If a candidate seems to fail at following instructions, by giving them the chance to resubmit, you can determine whether this was a one-time mistake or a pattern of behavior.
For highly motivated candidates, the opportunity to showcase their skills through an improved submission could be an additional opportunity to shine.
It’s a win-win for employers and candidates
By offering a feedback loop in our coding assessments, we’ve found that the dropout rate is very low and, in fact, candidates seem to be more motivated to spend time and effort on their submission. All in all, this seems like a win-win for both the employers and the candidates. As an employer, this is a great opportunity to get more information about the candidate’s abilities and their willingness to improve, while the candidate also gets another chance.
So, if you’re looking for a way to get more information about a candidate’s abilities and their willingness to learn, remember to use Codeaid’s Feedback & Fix feature. It could be the difference between hiring an average candidate and a great one.
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