Code coverage for suite evaluation by developers

Rahul Gopinath, Carlos Jensen, Alex Groce

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


One of the key challenges of developers testing code is determining a test suite's quality - its ability to find faults. The most common approach is to use code coverage as a measure for test suite quality, and diminishing returns in coverage or high absolute coverage as a stopping rule. In testing research, suite quality is often evaluated by a suite's ability to kill mutants (artificially seeded potential faults). Determining which criteria best predict mutation kills is critical to practical estimation of test suite quality. Previous work has only used small sets of programs, and usually compares multiple suites for a single program. Practitioners, however, seldom compare suites - - they evaluate one suite. Using suites (both manual and automatically generated) from a large set of real-world open-source projects shows that evaluation results differ from those for suite-comparison: statement (not block, branch, or path) coverage predicts mutation kills best.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-82
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering
StatePublished - May 31 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event36th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE 2014 - Hyderabad, India
Duration: May 31 2014Jun 7 2014


  • Test frameworks
  • evaluation of coverage criteria
  • statistical analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


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