Wednesday, March 6, 2013

60-80-100 Quiz in AP Computer Science

One of the bigger issues in getting ready for the APCs exam in May is transitioning from coding on a computer, with full support of a compiler with error checking, to writing code down on paper.

To get the kids used to doing this I use the 60-80-100 Quiz.These are short problems where they wrote out the code. If they get it right, they get a 100. Make a few mistakes they get an 80, and if the code doesn't resemble anything we are working on it is a 60.

The rationale is an 80 is not likely to tank your grade for a marking period. they get immediate feedback and start to build confidence in their ability to write out code.

Early in the year we do simple things like:
write an if statement to test of both x and y are equal to 67;

When I grade these I am checking for three main things:

  • did they set up the if correctly
  • did they use &&
  • did they use ==

Super quick and easy to grade. I grade them in class while they do some practice on the computers and I hand them back immediately. They get instant feedback while they are still thinking about it.

As the year moves on I up the difficulty, trying to mimic the style and complexity of the Ap Free Response questions.

So later we might try something like:

Write a method that accepts an ArrayList <Integer> parameter and removes all even numbers.

again I am looking for specific things here...but this also lets me reinforce things like:

  • How do you get an int from an Integer
  • Should you use a for-each loop if you are removing items form the ArrayList

Notice also that it is set up as a method. Since many of the Free Response questions are in the context of a method the more practice they have with using methods, the better.

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