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Computer Programming

Pathway Assessment Blueprint

Specific Competencies and Skills Tested in this Assessment:

Analyze Programming Problems and Flowchart Solutions

  • Analyze user requirements for a given outcome 
  • Determine input and output formats for a program
  • Determine the flow of data through network 
  • Identify and describe a data flow diagram
  • Identify and describe a process logic diagram 
  • Describe the system development cycle (i.e., code management, ongoing revisions)


Design Program Solutions

  • Determine if and where data is to be accessed/stored 
  • Design data storage and layout
  • Apply principles of quality, efficient programming 
  • Explain the importance of a design review 
  • Apply implementation plans for a new system 
  • Assess ongoing impact of existing systems 


Code Programs

  • Determine the variables and data types for a program
  • Prepare and code routines using structured logic
  • Identify various programming languages 
  • Apply appropriate computer language syntax 
  • Explain unit testing requirements 
  • Document appropriate comments and programmer notes 


Test Programs

  • Explain system testing requirements 
  • Design and analyze test plan for use in program testing
  • Test programs and evaluate results for accuracy
  • Correct programming errors discovered during testing
  • Identify appropriate debugging tools


Maintain Programs

  • Change existing programs when requirements change 
  • Correct existing program errors
  • Update documentation for existing programs
  • Provide user instructions on program modifications 


Complete User Documentation and Technical Writing

  • Develop documentation narrative
  • Define data use and storage
  • Develop online help for users


General Information and Concepts

  • Apply general design and programming concepts 
  • Identify various hardware platforms and run-time environments 
  • Identify human aspects in information systems 
  • Identify general information technology (IT) definitions and terms 
  • Adhere to best programming practices and methodologies 
  • Exhibit understanding of data hierarchy, access methods, and manipulation 


Written Assessment: 

Administration Time: 3 hours   

Number of Questions: 166 


Areas Covered:

Analyze Programming Problems and Flowchart Solutions: 15%

Design Program Solutions: 13%

Code Programs: 19%

Test Programs: 14%

Maintain Programs: 7%

Complete User Documentation and Technical Writing: 8%

General Information and Concepts: 24%


Sample Questions: 

Data that is represented in a tagged-format language is  

  1. delimited   
  2. fixed-length 
  3. XML 
  4. binary 


Large programs used by many different people should be stored on a 

  1. server  
  2. personal computer  
  3. DVD drive  
  4. tape backup 


Each module in top-down programming should 

  1. be well distributed 
  2. represent a loop 
  3. represent a program function 
  4. contain a procedure call 

Test data should be developed that will 

  1. execute the program properly the first time 
  2. validate the operating system 
  3. contain only invalid data 
  4. generate the answers wanted by users 


Documentation standards should be 

  1. changed frequently 
  2. defined up front 
  3. dictated by the end users 
  4. determined by the programmer 


Performance Assessment:

Administration Time: 3 hours  

Number of Jobs: 2


Areas Covered:

61% Write a Program 

Create an order form to track CD purchases from a website, set up a GUI panel-type form, enter each set of given test data, perform appropriate calculations, display results in a table on the GUI panel, print out source code and output report, and time to complete Job 1.   


39% Design Solution Logic 

Read the provided programming situation, create a flowchart of pseudocode that solves the programming situation, and time to complete Job 2.  


Sample Job:

Design Solution Logic 

Maximum Time: 30 minutes 

Participant Activity: The participant will be provided a programming situation.  Create a flowchart or pseudocode that solves the programming situation (problem definition).