Use Student Solutions/alx

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Use Student Solutions
Contributors Christian Köppe, Ralph Niels, Robert Holwerda, Lars Tijsma, Niek Van Diepen, Koen Van Turnhout, René Bakker
Last modification June 6, 2017
Source Köppe, Niels, Holwerda, Tijsma, Van Diepen, Van Turnhout, and Bakker (2015)[1][2]; Köppe et al. (2016)[3]
Pattern formats OPR Alexandrian
Learning domain

Students have prepared for an in-class meeting by studying the required material and handed in their homework solutions beforehand. These homework solutions are not overly complex or extensive. You want to create a rich classroom experience with a good learning outcome.


Students have difficulty understanding concepts when they are discussed using prefabricated solutions and generic explanations.

An important part of the learning process is resolving misconceptions. It is hard to find the misconceptions, and even if you are aware of them because you studied the submitted solutions it is hard finding good ways to help students correcting them.

For most students examples are invaluable for understanding the subject matter. However, before an example can be valuable it must be understood. Furthermore, finding suitable examples can be difficult and time consuming.

Finally, not connecting to prior knowledge may cause the classroom session to degenerate into a classical knowledge transfer lecture.


Therefore: connect all discussion of concepts and theory to students’ prior experience, by basing the classroom activities on the students’ homework solutions they have handed in.

This pattern serves as an entry pattern to the approach of using student solutions for the in-class meetings, its good implementation requires the application of multiple supporting patterns (see below and Köppe et al. 2015[2]). A precondition for the application of this pattern is that the students can hand in their work before class, e.g. via email or through a learning management system.

A lot of information about the prior knowledge of students can be obtained by inspecting the homework solutions. For example, one could:

- look for common patterns in different solutions (as basis for Bird's Eye Summary (Bird's Eye Summary) and Generalized Feedback For Everyone (Generalized Feedback For Everyone)),

- look for obvious differences and remarkable exceptions (used for Compare Solutions (Compare Solutions) or Solution Variety (Solution Variety)), and

- relate these to the content you want to deliver.

Also pay attention to the terminology used by the students to check whether they grasped and applied the concepts of the preparation material correctly. Applying this pattern therefore also helps with identifying misconceptions, a prerequisite for correcting them.

It is easier to connect the new material to their own knowledge when the discussion is based on their own work. The solutions form hereby an excellent source of examples the students are familiar with. This makes it easier for them to understand them as they reflect their prior experience.

Using solutions can provoke or benefit teacher class interaction. Most solutions raise questions which trigger a good discussion on the topic. In class you can ask students to clarify their solution and listen carefully how they formulate their answer, hereby identifying if they really grasped all kinds of desired knowledge correctly (factual, conceptual, and procedural, as described in the revised Bloom’s taxonomy[4]).

You do not need to see the solution of every student, but should try to find a good Solution Variety (Solution Variety). Also make sure that you Add Value Beyond Feedback (Add Value Beyond Feedback) and that you let students know that Every Student Solution Counts (Every Student Solution Counts).

One limitation is that you’ll need homework problems that are designed to expose the nuances of the subject matter as much as possible.

Another limitation is the available time for inspecting the students’ solutions. Preparation may take more time, because the teacher can no longer repeat a story based on standard examples. Having clear learning goals of the classroom sessions is invaluable. That way you can quickly relate solutions to the goals and select the most valuable ones. Having a deep understanding of the subject matter is also a requirement for this to work well.

In the course Object-Oriented Program Development, the general content of each classroom sessions is determined upfront to support a Controlled Pacing (Controlled Pacing). Prior to each classroom session, students have to hand in their solutions through email. Shortly before the start of as classroom session, the teacher scans through all emails to find suitable solutions to use in that session and select the ones that are most suitable for giving feedback, correcting misconceptions, and introducing new aspects of the theory.


  1. Köppe, C., Niels, R., Holwerda, R., Tijsma, L., Van Diepen, N., Van Turnhout, K., & Bakker, R. (2015). Flipped classroom patterns: designing valuable in-class meetings. In Proceedings of the 20th European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (EuroPLoP 2015). New York:ACM.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Köppe, C., Niels, R., Holwerda, R., Tijsma, L., Van Diepen, N., Van Turnhout, K., & Bakker, R. (in press 2015). Flipped Classroom Patterns - Using Student Solutions. In Proceedings of the 22nd Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (PLoP 2015). New York, ACM.
  3. Patlet also published in Köppe, C., Niels, R., Bakker, R., & Hoppenbrouwers, S. (2016). Flipped Classroom Patterns-Controlling the Pace. In Proceedings of the 10th Travelling Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (VikingPLoP 2016). New York:ACM.
  4. Anderson, L. W. and Krathwohl, D. R. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. Addison Wesley Longman, Inc, New York.