Some Assignment questions

  • Calum Gordon

    Hi, as a newbie this year with SQA Computing Science I have one or two questions about the assignment. My Higher students are currently doing the 2022 assignment for practice before they start the real one. In Task 1A they must design a function to capitalise an input string. If students submit Python code for that type of design task will that be deemed acceptable? Or must it be in pseudocode, structure chart or flowchart form? There are clearly Python string methods that would accomplish the task easily. Can they be used in the design? If so, what is the best way of describing them?

    I’m also wondering what other teachers do about maintaining security during the assignment. The pupils should not be able to work on the assignment out of school time. Yet it is open-book and they can access other resources to help them, such as code examples, online documentation, etc. Our students are using Exam logins rather than their own logins on school PCs. These still give them access to Internet and a matching Google account, which I’m using to share the necessary assignment files with them via Google Drive when required. The students don’t know the passwords for these accounts so can’t sign in at home. But it’s clearly still rather easy for them to be able to send their work somewhere to be accessed later, if that’s what they want to do. Clearly some element of trust is involved here. If there is no Internet access allowed it would be easier to manage. So just wanted to know what is happening elsewhere regarding assignment security. Thanks.


    Craig Duffy


    “Using a design technique” questions mean just that – a design technique. So Python is not acceptable.

    As far as I am aware, inbuilt functions beyond the few stated in the course spec aren’t allowed otherwise you could just use the .sort() method etc. although I would appreciate a bit more clarity on this myself. Ultimately, students should be implementing Standard Algorithms even if there is already an inbuilt function for this but functions such as .upper() and .append() which are not part of the course spec should be okay. I think.

    Security mainly comes down to the class teacher as invigilator. Separate accounts is good, but you should be ensuring they are not able to send the files elsewhere by keeping an eye on what they are doing.

    Scott McBride

    As far as I am aware, writing code in the exam is accepted as ‘design’. I do not see how it would be marked differently in an assignment.

    I would far rather pupils used Python over structure diagrams and flow charts….

    Craig Duffy

    I have always been told (and indeed we were told to enforce by my LA group – especially during 2021) that Writing Code is not acceptable for a design question unless it can be suggested it is pseduocode but I have not marked for the SQA so can’t comment with any certainty.

    Pseduocode should be used instead of Python but there is no one standard for Pseudocode.

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