What’s new in the NCSS Challenge 2019?

Kylie Williams
Jul 11, 2019 · 4 min read

Building on the improvements we made in 2018 we are continuing to review and revise the NCSS Challenge so that it better aligns with the Australian Curriculum. For 2019 we have made some key changes as we continue to make the Challenge bigger and better!

5 Weeks for Points! This year students will be able to earn points for all problems right up until the end of the NCSS Challenge. Teacher feedback showed that if a student fell behind and missed a deadline, the lost points could be a serious disincentive, and they may lose interest and fall even further behind or give up entirely.

So now, while exciting new content will still be released each week, points can be earned for all problems until the end of the Challenge. This will allow students to work at their own pace and any who fall behind can catch up without being penalised.

The feedback a student sees when they mark a pass a problem. It shows all the things that were tested for, how many points they got and a congratulations message at the end.
What students see when they mark a problem and have made a mistake. The feedback gives them suggestions on where they may have gone wrong, so they can edit their program and try again.

Solutions for teachers only. As students can earn points throughout the whole 5 weeks, we won’t be releasing solutions to students this year. All teachers will still receive the solutions and teacher notes, so you can go through any tricky problems with your students as a class. Also, as always students will have access to our tutor messaging system, so they can get help at any time from our very experienced student and industry mentors.

Just click the ‘Teacher’s Notes’ tab at the top of any problem to see solutions and explanations.

For 2019 Newbies will include narration for all slides and problems. We use paired problems to help reinforce learning. This level is most suited to students in late primary or junior secondary school (10–14 years) and aligns with the 5/6 Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies.

Beginners has been completely revised for 2019! Like Newbies, we have added paired problems and interactive slides to reinforce concepts and make learning more engaging and fun. Aligned with the 7/8 Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies this course is most suited to students in junior secondary school (12–16 years) or older students with no experience who want to start with the basics.

Intermediate has now been updated to more clearly follow on from Beginners. The assumed knowledge for this course is now much clearer from week 1. Students will need to have completed Beginners before or have had experience in coding to complete this stream. This content also now more closely aligns with the year 9/10 Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies.

And finally, our Advanced stream will be running a card game tournament 🏆! An all new way to compete, with code. Students will build an Artificial Intelligence (AI) to play a competitive card game, and then go head to head against other AIs. We’ll teach them the basics of how to build an AI, but it’s their job to figure out a winning strategy! This stream is designed for experienced students ready to stretch themselves.

The other exciting new change you may have noticed is our new and improved subscription process. The new processes are designed to be simple & easy to use, but if you need help, we’ve got you covered with detailed instructions in our FAQ’S. Don’t forget, all students need an all-access subscription to participate in the Challenge.

Watch this video so see how simple and easy it is to set your students up on Grok Learning!

As always our amazing tutors will be on hand to assist in answering questions and offering advice.

The NCSS Challenge starts on 29 July and all courses are now available for you to sign your students up! Just go to your teacher dashboard, select your students and assign them to whichever stream you feel is appropriate. Remember, your students need a Grok Learning all-access subscription to participate. You can buy subscriptions from your dashboard too!

If you want some advice on which stream is right for your class, just email us and we can help you out!

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