Follow @superdavey on

Proposed Computer Science ATAR and Python

Recently my local state educational body (SCSA) proposed an update to the Computer Science course that provides entrance to university. The old course was very out of date and it was good to see a change being made. Unfortunately amongst the good was the decision to only allow one programming language to be taught and that language was Python.

I do not have any direct issue with Python, even though it may not be ideal as a language to teach coding, but that is another discussion.

Below is the feedback I provided SCSA during the feedback phase. I’m hopeful there can be a change made, but I am doubtful.

I would strongly advocate changing the requirement of one language (Python) to having more choice. Below are some of the reasons and considerations:

Are there any any other educational systems that have a computer science university entrance course that only have the option for one language?

If one language is a requirement there should be more consultation on the choice of Python.

Choosing one language will help make an online exam easier to create and assess, this begs the questions of why the exam is testing specific coding skills and not be focused more on algorithmic thinking. There is no need to examine specific language skills.

There appears to be a large influence from Curtin University in the choices made, what feedback have other universities provided?

Arguing that there are many resources for Python is a moot point as other languages also have many resources and support.

There is a risk setting a precedent for the K-10 Digital Technologies course to follow suite or teachers and schools will feel compelled to teach Python so that their students are experienced in Python when commencing ATAR.

Overall, this is dramatic change has serious consequences that I do not believe have been considered or weighted accordingly.