test oracle

The source of knowledge against which the behaviour of the system under test (test outcome(s)) will be compared.

The Oracle Axiom: Testers need sources of knowledge to evaluate actual outcomes or behaviours


Identify and agree the sources of knowledge required to determine expected outcomes. Use multiple sources; compare them and cross-check.

Consequence if ignored or violated

There is no way of knowing whether a tested system behaves correctly or not. Inconsistencies and gaps in knowledge cannot be identified.

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