News, features and tips for teachers, computer science advocates, and other heroes in education

Introducing Our Biggest Classroom Update Yet -- Assessments! Updated with CS3!

We’re introducing a new and more comprehensive assessment tool to help teachers challenge and guide students through their coding adventure.

Update 4/11/18 - We are proud to announce assessments are now available in CS3! See below for details.

Since our launch in 2013, we’ve read teacher emails and chatted with passionate educators over the phone and online and shared that feedback across all teams at CodeCombat. One of the biggest frustrations teachers shared with us was not having comprehensive assessment feedback about their student’s progress. With their valuable input, we’ve developed more tools to help students get the most out of their CodeCombat journey.

Now, we’re pleased to announce a major feature update; Challenge Levels

Challenge Levels

Challenge Levels are designed to help you assess student knowledge of concepts in Computer Science courses.

  • Students unlock Challenge Levels as they complete required course levels, and can be tackled at their leisure.
  • Concept and Combo Challenge Levels are available in Computer Science 1, 2, and 3. Additional Challenge Levels are coming soon!

Two types of Challenge Levels have been launched: Concept & Combo Concept Challenges are formative assessments that function as a quick measure of a student’s retention of a concept, similar to an exit ticket or short quiz at the end of the day.

  • Computer Science 1 has five concept challenge levels.
  • Computer Science 2 has 12 concept challenge levels.
  • Computer Science 3 has 14 concept challenge levels.
  • Concept Challenges are pass/incomplete.

Combo Challenges are summative assessments that combine multiple concepts to provide a comprehensive overview of a student’s knowledge of various concepts, similar to an end-of-unit quiz.

  • Computer Science 1 has two Combo Challenges.
  • Computer Science 2 has four Combo Challenges.
  • Computer Science 3 has five Combo Challenges.
  • Combo Challenges can be passed with partial goals completed.

For example:
In-level goals for Combo Challenges will look like the example above. Once the Combo Challenge level is complete the student will see the Challenge Complete screen with a fraction representing how many concepts were used. For the example above ½ would show:


More Information

How do teachers receive these updated features?

All classrooms created after August 2017 automatically have access to Challenge Levels. Contact us if you have an older classroom that needs assessments.

Teachers can see a new Assessments tab in their classroom page. Students are listed by row, and concepts are listed across columns.

Combo Challenges are labelled as such and the column has fractional/pie completion circles

How will teachers know which Challenge Levels students have done?

The Assessments tab will show No Progress (grey), In Progress (yellow) or Complete (green) for each Challenge level. For Combo levels, teachers can hover over fractional/pie circles which will display how many of the concepts a student demonstrated in that Combo level.

How do students play the Challenge Levels?

As they complete levels, students will see new Victory screens that tell them when they’ve “unlocked” new Challenge Levels. We’ve designed the interface to encourage students to start the Challenge Level instead of starting the next required sequential level in the course.

This interface will also let students know which type of challenge they’ve unlocked, and the first few times they encounter a Combo or Concept Challenge, we’ll remind them what it means.

Combo Challenge Levels will also remind users to work towards finding a solution for all the goals of the level if they submit a partial solution.

Students also have a 'view Challenge Levels' link for each course, allowing them to find links to all Challenge Levels unlocked for that course:

Challenge Levels are purple on the World Map:

Will students need to pass Challenge Levels to unlock new courses levels? What happens if they fail?

Students do not need to pass Challenge Levels to unlock new course levels, unlike normal sequential course levels. Challenge Levels do not have a “failure” state, they are marked either “incomplete” or “not started”.

Are students provided any hints or assistance in completing Challenge Levels?

No default code is provided, students will write their own code to solve the problem from scratch. The hints provided offer the student direction on where they can go to review previous concepts learned or movement hints.

Are there new teacher resources related to the updates?

We’ve updated our Computer Science 1 and Computer Science 2 solution guides to display solutions to Challenge Levels (including multiple solutions for the Combo Challenges).

Teachers can also try out the challenge Levels using the dropdown menu on the course guides page.

Will there be Challenge Levels created for Computer Science 4 and beyond?

Yes, we are working on releasing additional Concept and Combo levels while we review the results of those in Computer Science 1 through 3.

Teacher Feedback

As we work on adding these features to Computer Science 4 and other courses, we can’t wait to hear feedback from teachers!

We use your feedback to determine the projects we prioritize and updates we make.

Teachers can send feedback or questions to [email protected] or reach out on Twitter and Facebook.


Gaining Access to all our courses

Teachers can contact our school specialists about receiving full access to all the CodeCombat courses, solution guides, support and more by emailing us at [email protected] or requesting a demo.


Continue the adventure! Share your pictures, stories and feedback with us on Twitter & Facebook, join the discussion on our Forums or contribute to our open source community. Are you a teacher, CS advocate, parent or administrator? Want to blog for us? Check out this post.