NCSS challenge sees Armidale student among wiorl

Christopher Post, flagged by his teacher Tim Scott and father Mark, achieved a perfect score in a computer coding competition designed for high school students.
Christopher Post, flagged by his teacher Tim Scott and father Mark, achieved a perfect score in a computer coding competition designed for high school students.

He is only just eight, but Christopher Post has achieved a perfect score in a computer coding competition pitted against students who are mostly in high school.

The Armidale School Year 2 student was among almost 20,000 students from around the world who took part in this year’s NCSS Challenge which is designed to develop skills and passion for coding (the way software programs are written).

Over the five week challenge, they learnt to code by solving interesting and engaging problems, with each problem having a higher degree of difficulty. Instead of written coding, Christopher was able to use a visual blockly programming method - sort of like a lego for coding.

“I just like doing competitions and exploring different areas of computers and electronic stuff,” said Christopher, who said he worked on the challenge “ever day before and after dinner.”

Christopher also took part in an earlier GROK HTML competition where students had to design a the look and feel of a web page having been given the words and pictures.

“I found the Python challenge easier than one that used HTML, but it didn’t teach us other things, like the HTML one did,” he said.

Teacher Tim Scott, who runs Junior School’s Coding Club, said the challenges are normally aimed at Years 5 and 6 and above but TAS was able to offer it to the Year 2 student.

“The challenge also allows for teachers to log in and monitor the progress of students and NCSS has on-line tutors to assist if participants are having trouble,” he said.

Older students Lachlan Hey, Henry Mitchell (both Year 8) and Julian Vogt (Year 11) also achieved perfect scores with five others receiving high distinctions.

The club uses resources from GROK Learning, an Australian company which formed from the NCSS Python Challenge run by the University of Sydney and TAS has been involved with Grok and the NCSS Python Challenge since its inception.

“Computer science skills are critical, whether you want to cure cancer, solve global warming or unlock the secrets of the universe. It's really good to see these students making a positive start at a young age, and we hope their successes may encourage other people to take up coding,” Christie McMonigal from GROK Learning said.