Students are assessed differently depending on their ability level. In all cases, we assess both practical understanding (how-to) as well as conceptual (what and why) understanding. Students demonstrate what they've learned by solving challenges independently, translating code into English, explaining their problem-solving process, helping peers troubleshoot, and presenting completed projects.
At the Explorer level, we focus on assessing basic skills and concepts in isolation. For example, students can demonstrate practical understanding by completing a high-level project goal with minimal instructor guidance, such as programming a video game character to move using arrow keys without being given step-by-step instructions. Students could demonstrate conceptual understanding by explaining the purpose of a conditional logic statement or talking through a section of their code. Every project will give students opportunities to demonstrate practical and conceptual understanding in multiple skills. Once students have demonstrated holistic understanding of all skills in a Subject Area, they graduate to the Developer track.
At the Developer level, students demonstrate practical understanding by completing (5) projects given only a single project prompt, such as "Create a game using spaceships and asteroids". Students are given broad latitude to determine the constraints and sub-goals of the project and are expected to use minimal instructor assistance. Students demonstrate conceptual understanding by presenting each project in a multi-media portfolio. Each portfolio piece includes a video demonstration of the project, an explanation of the project goals and process, sticking points or difficulties that were encountered and high-level learnings or takeaways. Once students have developed this portfolio of (5) projects, they graduate to the Hacker level.