This assessment section provides two guides that outline how to assess students’ understanding of the programming blocks in the ScratchJr iPad app. The ScratchJr Solve-Its where students watch the videos in the playlist and record their answers on an answer sheet. The other assessment guide involves ‘‘reverse-engineering’’, in which students determine what visual programming blocks have been used to create a simple animation (program).
This assessment activity can be used after students have been exposed to introductory lessons on how to use the ScratchJr program, the types and functions of the blocks and having had experience in creating simple programs in ScratchJr.
Teachers can collect students’ worksheets and mark correct and incorrect responses. This will help determine if students have an understanding of the correct function and use of the visual programming blocks, ability to identify correct script sequences, ability to correctly determine a sequence of blocks that solve a simple problem (an animation).
Some opportunities for extending or adapting this assessment resource are given below:
This assessment guide is great for teachers with all levels of experience, as it essentially involves checking for the presence of certain blocks or circling of certain blocks, between what the student has created and the template. Below we have some information about the key concepts to support you in making assessments and exploring their understanding.
Sequence: Students are asked to construct a sequence of steps (algorithm). They will do this by arranging various blocks in a logical sequence. An algorithm will have a start (e.g. press the green flag) and an end point (red end block). These blocks execute one after the other. Students will test that their code executes in the correct order by following the execution of code and checking the visual animation.
Repetition: Although Repetition is not explicitly expected to be taught and assessed in this Year band, students can explore ways that they can make their algorithm more efficient. They do this by identifying patterns in their code (duplicate blocks in a row or duplicate sequences). They can adapt their code by removing multiples of the same blocks and instead changing the number of times a block is executed on the block or by inserting a loop (orange repeat block or the red repeat forever block). Teachers can ask students to circle blocks that are the same or that repeat and look for patterns.
Branching/Decisions: Decision blocks can be used to tell a computer what to execute based on a decision or condition in the code. In the early years, this can be captured by the ScratchJr ‘triggering blocks’. These blocks include instructions that describe decisions, such as whether an action is to be carried out based on an event occurring (such as tapping the screen, or two characters touching).
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