The introduction of computer science to NZ high schools: An analysis of student work
In 2011 New Zealand introduced computer science as a topic that students could take as part of their studies in the last three years of high school. The change was initiated in late 2008, so the new material was introduced with barely two years of preparation and minimal teacher training. Despite this tight timeline, many schools adopted the new topic, and many students successfully completed assessment in it in 2011. The format of the assessment was required to be a report. In this paper we look carefully at the work that students submitted by examining publicly available infor- mation (statistics, markers' comments and exemplars), and performing a detailed analysis of a sample of 151 student papers. We describe the nature of the assessment (which is report-based with very exible criteria for how students can demonstrate their understanding), and examine the kind of work that students submitted to meet the criteria, drawing out good practices that enabled students to do well. A recur- ring theme is the importance of students being able to use personal authentic examples so that the examiner can hear the \student's voice" in their report work, which provides evidence that the student has understood the topic rather than paraphrased descriptions. The analysis also reveals the value of prompting students e ectively to get them engaged properly with the concepts, and identi es successful ways to achieve this in the three areas of the analysed standard (algorithms, programming languages and usability).