My students, all three of them, did well on the programming part except that they felt a lot of time pressure.
For some background, this CSP curriculum is being used for Computer Science 1 in a school that hasn't offered CS1 for a couple years but has been offering computer programming which is in Python. My students are concurrently taking Python.
We did Unit 3 lessons 4 & 5 in class before I ditched that and assigned lessons as homework that we reviewed in class. Our in-class experience was that dragging and dropping blocks was tedious especially because lesson 4 is pre-functions. Boy, were we glad when functions were introduced!
Also, one of my students has an extremely low frustration tolerance, and the lesson where he almost rage quit was the last lesson we did together in class. He's also the one that felt the most pressure in the exam on the programming portion. These same questions outside the classroom would have been fine. But the complexity from problems 1 to 4 rose dramatically, and the students were quite stressed by the end.
Knowing what I now know some things I'll consider going forward:
1) Pre-test practice problems -- my questions were fairly different from the undersea exercises in Unit 3.
2) Geometry -- I asked my kids to reproduce a "house" type picture. My kids are strong math students, but for the sake of assessing programming and not geometry skills, I could have either provided interior angles or have previously taught them to have the math done in the code, like 180-60.
3) Walk thru decomposition -- I think it might have helped some of my students to have drawn a paper/pen solution before rushing into the code. Not sure since I already had a "write a pseudocode solution" problem before they started to code.
4) Anxiety for stuck students rises very fast.
I would appreciate feedback on #4. My day-to-day solution for stuck students is to have them code at home. (There are school issued Chromebooks for each student, and this year's students have internet access at home.)
I know for myself when I'm stuck on a programming problem, it's important to walk away for a little while. In an exam situation, I don't know what to do.
For a first year teacher, I think things could have gone a lot worse, but there is definite room for improvement.