Are Simulated Coding Interviews a Fair and Practical Examination Format for Non-professional Programmers Enrolled in a Master’s Degree Program in Biostatistics?

Jesse D. Troy, Gina-Maria Pomann, Megan L. Neely, Steven C. Grambow, Gregory P. Samsa


This report describes an innovative and evidence-based approach to implementing coding interviews as an examination format for non-professional programmers: namely, students in a Master of Biostatistics program taking a course in the language of SAS. In addition to its academic purpose, the coding interview examination also serves as practice for what our students will likely encounter when interviewing for jobs after graduation. We discuss our experience with coding interviews as an examination format in light of two questions: "Is it fair?" and "Is it practical?". We propose that the answer to both questions is "yes". A detailed description of the exam goals and structure is provided, along with sample questions, model answers, and a brief discussion of the rationale for each question. We also review student feedback from the course evaluation and summarize our conclusions related to fairness and practicality.

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Copyright (c) 2023 Jesse D Troy, Gina-Maria Pomann, Megan L Neely, Steven C Grambow, Gregory P Samsa

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Journal of Curriculum and Teaching ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)  Email:

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