We are not going the AP route, but want to have an industry coding test for the final piece of our CTE Pathway. Do you have any suggestions?
@llangehaug1 good question! I am not in the same situation, but I have heard other states wrestle with this too. One suggestion, do you have a regional partner you could reach out to? If you participated in the code.org PD, they would have been the people who helped register you for the PD. They could be a good resource too for this question. My understanding is that these tests can be state-specific so it might be a good idea to ask them!
They referred me to the forum.
Can you clarify the idea of this “industry coding test”? We might be able to generate some more ideas we have a clearer idea of specific objectives. More background information might also be helpful. Thanks!
A certification that students walk away with that shows some sort of proficiency for a future job in the industry.
@llangehaug1 I don’t have a lot of experience with their program but I’ve heard that Oracle runs coursework for students in high school to earn industry certifications. You may have some luck checking there. If you’re hoping that students take CS Principles and subsequently receive a certification besides the AP CSP exam then you may run into more challenges. The course is written with that test in mind so mapping it to other outcomes may prove tricky.
Hope that helps a little!
Hi @llangehaug1! This is such a good question - I also teach AP CSP as a CTE class and am required to have an industry certification at the end of my course. I spent some time researching different exams and, from my own experiences unaffiliated with Code.org, here’s what I’ve done:
I’ve had success offering the CompTIA IT Fundamentals exam after the AP Exam. Here’s a list of the Exam Objectives. I’ve found, without any adjustments to the curriculum, AP CSP overlaps with several sections (such as the Security objectives and the Common File Types section, especially with the File Type Showdown project). I’ve also found that, frankly, my students just naturally know technology in a way that prepares them for this exam - for example, one of the standards is “Gesture-Based Interaction, including swiping & pinching”, which… well, my students just know how to do that from growing up around technology.
I still need to supplement to prepare my students. After the AP, we take apart a computer and go through the hardware; I bring in a wireless router and we go through how to set it up; I make them setup an email client on their phone - lots of basic troubleshooting things. CompTIA has their own preparation software that your school / district might want be willing to invest in called CertMaster.
I’ve given this exam for the last two years to all my students (since I’m required to) and, considering that this certification isn’t directly aligned with AP CSP, I’ve had pretty decent pass rates - at least 50% both years. Plus, it’s a lifetime certification, which is pretty cool. Also, I teach in AZ where we pretty much end school 2 weeks after the AP exam, so I really only have a week to cram the extra exam content before my students take the certification exam. If you end school sometime in June, that’s plenty of time to prepare students for the exam in a more meaningful way.
Lastly - if none of the above sounds appealing, Microsoft has recently started to offer a Block-Based Certification as part of their Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications. I don’t have any experience with this exam, but I would assume the block-based aspect is similar to Code.org’s AppLab. Solely my opinion: if your goal is to give students an industry-standard certification that has meaning on a resume or job application - this certification doesn’t do that; I sincerely doubt that employers are looking for experienced block-based programmers. But if your goal is to check the box that you offer an industry certification from a reputable source, then this does the trick. Also, more generally, Microsoft’s MTA Certifications seem to be geared towards high school students, so they might be worth exploring. On the website above, click the “Step 2 - Exams” link to see all their exams.
Hope this helps!
-Dan from AZ
@dschneider . This is good info. I just started the CTE pathway at our school and am drowning in paperwork. Thank.
Here are a couple of other resources shared on the Facebook group:
We use precision exams for certification in my cte pathway. [http://www.precisionexams.com].
Oooo - I hadn’t heard of Precision Exams. I’ll have to check them out.
I use the Oracle Junior Associate exams for my students who take AP CSA (after Principles) - the junior certifications align pretty well to the CSA exam and its also a lifetime certification for the version of Java they test in. But, the thing that tripped us up last year were the actual logistics of testing. For the CompTIA IT Fundamentals and the Microstoft MTA Exams, you can run those through a less intense PearsonVUE Anywhere Proctored suite - basically you sign up to be a proctor for these exams and you can administer them in your classroom with your students. Takes some paperwork ahead of time, but the actual testing process was straightforward for me. But, for the Oracle exams, students had to actually go to an actual testing center with a specialized proctor. For us in Tucson, that testing center could only fit 2 people at a time and was only open during school hours, which made it pretty unfeasible (infeasible?) for us to figure out how to make this work without doing 10 separate field trips. The whole thing fell apart for us once we realized these logistical challenges.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: before making a final commitment to a certification, it might be worthwhile to investigate the logistics of how students test. If you’re not able to get certified as a proctor or it requires a trip to a specialized testing center, that could be a logistical hardship that you might not be able to overcome on your own.
The MTA for block-based programming was based on Touch Develop which Microsoft ended in June 2018. Some questions were Touch Develop specific, but other questions covered algorithms, Internet, etc. Some of the Certiport exam objectives overlap with CSP, but it is not tightly aligned in my opinion. FYI. I worked on the exam as an item writer.
Update October 24, 2018: The MTA Block-based coding exam will be retired in Aug 2019.