Student experiences with executable acceptance testing

Author(s): Kris Read, Grigori Melnik, Frank Maurer
Venue: Proceedings of the Agile Development Conference
Date: 2005

Sample Size: 42
Class/Experience Level: Undergraduate Student
Participant Selection: voluntarily opted in, self selected
Data Collection Method: Observation, Survey


This paper reports the experiences of software engineering students attempting to use FIT while working on an assigned project. The goals of the course were to:

  • Educate students about acceptance testing techniques;
  • Investigate student perceptions of acceptance testing;
  • Determine student opinions about FIT and FITNesse tools.
  • Determine if executable acceptance tests can actually be used to communicate requirements.

This paper is one of a series of research papers and attempts to support or refute previous conclusions using a new perspective of the perceptions from the participant. Throughout the semester authors attempted to gauge the subjects abilities to interpret and specify executable acceptance tests. The authors wanted to identify if FIT tests could substitute requirements documents.

Overall the authors were not able to make any definite conclusions, as the majority of students reported indifferent responses to using the FIT framework. The authors were able to conclude on a structure of understanding using FIT, in a pyramid shape. At the bottom was understanding with assistance, meaning students were able to get the most out of FIT when guided by an expert. The next level was understanding independently, meaning students were able to read and understand FIT documents without additional help. The final level on top of the pyramid was being able to specify new tests independently. For the most part the authors claimed the experience was positive with very few negative or criticizing comments.