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National Computer Science School Challenge 2013

National Computer Science SchoolThe National Computer Science School (NCSS), the School of IT at the University of Sydney invite teachers and their students to participate in the NCSS Python Challenge 2013.

No programming experience is required.

Each week, a set of notes for either in-class or self-directed learning is distributed to participants via email and online. A set of challenge questions testing this material is also released. The questions range in difficulty to allow beginners to progress at their own rate while still extending gifted students. The challenges will increase in complexity as more and more programming concepts are covered over the 5 weeks.

Students submit answers to these questions, which are automatically marked using a series of test cases that are designed to help guide the student to a working solution.  A full set of correct solutions, hints and commentary about each question are released at the end of each week. Video lectures and walk-throughs of some questions will also be available.

There are 3 Python streams offered in this year’s Challenge: Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced.  Enrolment in a stream costs $20 per student.This can be paid by students individually via paypal, or the school can be invoiced for them as a group. Students generally spend a few hours a week to complete all questions, although this varies depending on which stream they are enrolled in.

The Challenge complements school curriculum in a number of different areas, and can be highly integrated into school classrooms. Some teachers include it as part of the lesson plan, going through the concepts together in class and letting students work individually solving questions or working through some of the questions together with their class. Others simply use the Challenge as self-guided learning, and let students use the notes, forums and tutor messaging system to learn. Some schools do the Challenge as part of a computing club, and many students also compete independently.

The organisers are happy to give teachers access to a set of Challenge demo questions to better gauge the scope and difficulty of the content.  To access this, please email

NCSS Python Challenge 2013.

NCSS_challenge_2013_brochure.pdf659.69 KB
NCSS_Challenge_flyer_for_students.pdf2.09 MB
NCSS_Challenge_poster.pdf9.36 MB
Visitor's picture

Visitor wrote:

24 July, 2012 - 09:21 Comment #: 1

We've done it with Year 11 SDD since inception. Awesome activity, kids love it. My class is excited about doing it this year. Greg Norris

Visitor's picture

Visitor wrote:

24 July, 2012 - 09:15 Comment #: 2

As someone who uses this competition as part of their teaching program, I
cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone teaching IT or Computer
Science. The beginners stream is targeted to kids who really have done no
programming, and even the Intermediate stream is achievable for older kids
with no experience.

If you want to learn to program yourself, it is a great challenge for $20 -
and should count for hours of your PD too ;)

Bruce Fuda

Steve Madsen's picture

smadsenau wrote:

21 July, 2012 - 16:22 Comment #: 3

My students have participated in this Python competition in the past and thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended.

Visitor's picture

Visitor wrote:

21 July, 2012 - 13:31 Comment #: 4

This is a very worthwhile event in which to participate. My Students have gotten a lot out of it. Highly recommended.

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