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.