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How Should Schools Grade Unexpected-But-Correct Answers On Coding Tests

Published by Slashdot on Sun, 18 Aug 2019


There can be more than one correct answer for academic tests of programming ability, writes long-time Slashdot reader theodp:Take the first of the Free-Response Questions in this year's AP CS A exam, which asked 70,000 college-bound students to "Write the static method numberOfLeapYears, which returns the number of leap years between year1 and year2." The correct answer, according to the CollegeBoard's 2019 Scoring Guidelines, entails iterating over the range of years and invoking a provided helper method called isLeapYear for each year. Which does work, of course, but what if a student instead took an Excel-like approach to the same problem that consists of a (hopefully correct!) single formula with no iteration or isLeapYear helper function' Would that be a worseor better -- example of computational thinking than the endorsed AP CS A Java-based solution' (Here's a 7-minute AP Conference discussion of how to correctly grade this problem)' So, how have you seen schools and companies deal with unexpected-but-correct approaches to coding test questions'Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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