[Edu-sig] Could there be a new test, call it AP something else?

Andrew Harrington aharrin at luc.edu
Mon Jan 25 16:42:04 CET 2010

Interesting site, ACSL.
Curious, there is no mention of specific languages or freedom of language
the I find quickly on their site.  The only hint is the list of languages
given where solutions are given,  Is that the actual list of restrictions?

On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 9:22 AM, Litvin <litvin at skylit.com> wrote:

> At 09:36 AM 1/25/2010, David MacQuigg wrote:
>> I can't imagine teaching or testing CS without an actual language.  A much
>> better alternative would be to have the same test in multiple languages
>> (perhaps with a "handicap" factor for the students choosing Python, so they
>> don't have an embarrassing advantage :>).
> Sure, for teaching you can use a particular language (or two).  Testing is
> another matter.  Currently AP free-response questions are not just "program
> this" or "program that" -- they are stated in a particular language, e.g.,
> here is a class, implement this particular method.  They also have a "case
> study," now in Java, and ask questions about it, e.g., to write a new method
> or to implement a new derived class.  The questions never ask students to
> write a complete program.  Then ETS brings together 80 or so teachers and
> college profs for a week each June to grade AP CS free-response questions.
>  These readers would have to be polyglots.  They use an elaborate rubric to
> grade a question, with partial credit given for every little bit remotely
> related to the right answer.  Supporting multiple languages would cost the
> College Board and ETS a lot of money, and this is a relatively small exam
> (about 20,000 students).
> There are many programming competitions, of course, where they care only
> about the program's correct result, such as  ACSL -- http://www.acsl.org/.
>  That's where Python programmers have a great advantage.  Unfortunately, few
> contestants use it now, because it is not widely taught in schools yet.
>  Does a contest specifically for Python programmers exist?  Is it feasible?
> Gary Litvin
> www.skylit.com
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Andrew N. Harrington
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 Loyola University Chicago
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