Autograding SQL statements for MySQL?


I sometimes teach an intro to databases class and we use MySQL.

Has anyone figured-out how to configure autograding for SQL commands?

I would like students to upload a .sql file with a particular name for the assignment. I THINK I should be able to write pytest scripts to run the student’s script in the MySQL database, and then I’ll need to run some queries – probably using SQL Alchemy?

If anyone has any experience (or thoughts) with this, please share.

Thank you in advance.

I’ve started to look into how to do this with SQL Server.

I’m adding the docker image of mssql to the classroom action runner. Then using the input/output grading test to run queries (via sqlcmd) that output to stdout. The output can then be compared using the grading test with an expected output, either ‘included’, ‘exact’, or ‘regex’. This allows each test to be granularly marked.

I have a proof-of-concept here: if you want to have a look at the workflow and autograding in the .github folder.

The principles for MySQL should be the same.

I believe MySQL is already installed on the runner but is disabled by default. (GitHub classrooms uses the ubuntu-latest runner). You’ll need to add run: sudo systemctl start mysql.service to the classroom.yml workflow. See:

Then using input/output autograding test:
run command: something like mysql --user="root" --password="root" --database="<database name>" --execute="<SQL statements to generate test>"
Expected output: something to compare the SQL statement output to.

You can probably add sudo systemctl start mysql.service to the setup field of the first autograding test, before importing the students work into MySQL. That would save you having to modify the workflow file.

pytest scripts would make it easier to parse the output from SQL queries and write exact tests, but then you did write think in capitals…

TL;DR: use bash to run SQL queries and compare the output using the input/output autograding test.

@markpatterson27 Thank you VERY much! Your examples are AWESOME!!! Thank you for the “Simple-SQL-Exercise”–very illuminating. I am on my way using the “Run Command” and not needing the overhead of pytest. Thank you, again.

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