Software testing is an important topic in software engineering education, and yet highly challenging from an educational perspective: students are required to learn several testing techniques, to be able to distinguish the right technique to apply, to evaluate the quality of their test suites, and to write maintainable test code.

In this paper, we describe how we have been adding a pragmatic perspective to our software testing course, and explore students’ common mistakes, hard topics to learn, favourite learning activities, and challenges they face. To that aim, we analyze the feedback reports that our team of Teaching Assistants gave to the 230 students of our 2016-2017 software testing course at Delft University of Technology. We also survey 84 students and seven of our teaching assistants on their perceptions.

Our results help educators not only to propose pragmatic software testing courses in their faculties, but also bring understanding on the challenges that software testing students face when taking software testing courses.