UK Bebras

 
 

OUCC

Oxford Logo

The Oxford University Computing Challenge


2022 Challenge dates:
Round 1 is over, results are published
Round 2: 15th March - qualifying scores


  Prepare   Take part   Information  
  Check out the tutorials, and try the examples.   When a challenge is live, read the Rubric, login and then select your age group.   You are on the correct page for information about the OUCC.  

 

 

About

The Oxford University Computing Challenge is an invitation event which aims to encourage students who have achieved a top 10% score in the UK Bebras Challenge to develop their skills further and produce programmed solutions to computational thinking problems. At the same time, it is hoped that the archived self-marking tasks will provide a useful resource for all school students studying Computer Science.

A pilot challenge took place in March 2017 with developments added each year. The annual challenge is held online, in schools and supervised by teachers. The participants' solutions are auto-marked by our system soon after.

 

The OUCC Syllabus

Syllabus Area One:

  • Strings, Output and Input
  • Mathematical and Logical Operators
  • Conditionals
  • Loops
  • Functions
  • Lists and Arrays
  • File Input/Output*
  • Classes and Objects*

Syllabus Area Two:

  • Logical Thinking
  • Algorithmic Thinking
  • Decomposition
  • Pattern Identification
  • Abstraction
  • Evaluation
  • De-bugging

* Juniors and Intermediates will not be set problems that require an understanding of this topic.

Programming Languages

Some sections tasks will require participants to be familiar with the Blockly programming language. Other tasks will allow students to program in any programming language using any IDE available on their school computers.

Students can use documentation or tool tips that are built in to their IDE but they may not look up documentation on the internet, search the internet in any way, or use other applications whilst participating in the Challenge.

The Challenge Format

The challenges will be run in schools using the same infrastructure used in the UK Bebras Challenge but with some new task types.

Four age categories: Elite, Seniors, Intermediates and Juniors
Time allowed: 1hour
Aim: To solve as many problems as possible in the time allowed.

Each Challenge will have three sections:

Section 1
5 tasks to solve that test understanding of syllabus area one in a fairly straightforward way.
(4 points each)

Section 2
5 tasks testing understanding of more than one syllabus area one skill. These tasks may, in addition, require the application of the Computational Thinking skills outlined in syllabus area two.
(6 points each)

Section 3
2 longer problems that test programming skills and the computational thinking skills outlined in syllabus area two.
(8 points each)

Age group differences:
(Note: Some changes from March 2021.)
Juniors & Intermediates - All tasks will be Blockly tasks
Seniors & Elite - The majority of tasks will be code submission tasks but occassional Blockly tasks may also appear.

 

 

Rubric

Aim:

To solve as many problems and score as many points as possible in one hour.

 

Rules:

  1. When competing you must stay on the the Challenge website (bebras.uk) except as indicated below.
  2. All age groups can access our tutorials page if you need to.
  3. Senior and Elite students are allowed to use any programming IDE that you usually use in school or you can write your programs directly in to the code area in the tasks. You are allowed to use documentation that is built into your IDE, even if this points to a separate website.
  4. You are allowed to use the official documentation website for the language you are using if you wish (e.g. https://docs.python.org/3.10/reference/index.html). You must not navigate to any other websites.
  5. You can use a simple text editor to perform search and replace procedures if any supplied data needs to be re-formatted for your particular programming language, e.g. you might want to replace double quotes with single quotes.
  6. You can bring in with you a maximum of 20 pages of A4 printed materials such as a syntax guide and/or your own notes. An example of an acceptable syntax guide can be found here: Coding Club Code Cards.

Scoring:

Difficulty Correct Incorrect or Unanswered Approximate time needed
A (five tasks) +4 points 0 points 2 minutes
B (five tasks) +6 points 0 points 5 minutes
C (two tasks) +8 points 0 points 15 minutes

 

Interpreting your score:

There is a maximum possible score of 66 although very few students will have the time to solve all 12 problems.

20+ points: Good – You have the basics covered.
25+ points: You will be awarded a certificate of Merit.
30+ points: Excellent – You need to have solved more than half of the 12 tasks.
40+ points: You will be awarded a certificate of Distinction.
50+ points
: Exceptional – 10 out of 12 problems need to be solved to achieve this.
66 points: Perfect. This is the maximum possible score!

Blockly Buttons:

Run Runs your code and saves your answer when it is correct.
Erase Erases, your code blocks, your answer and resets the task.
Hide menu Closes the question menu giving more space for your Blockly workspace.

 

 
 

Statistics

The Oxford University Computing Challenge was piloted in March 2017. The top 10% achieving students in the UK Bebras Challenge were invited to take part.

2022 Statistics

The 2022 OUCC challenge took place with most students in school but teachers still had to cope with several at home, self-isolating, due to the continuing pandemic. Final statistics for the first round:

Age Group Participants Max Score Maximums Distinctions
(score: 40+)
Merits
(score: 25+)
Elite: 787 66 19 170 136
Seniors: 1772 66 30 112 145
Intermediate: 6659 66 13 193 1110
Juniors: 4136 66 14 101 602
Totals 13,354        


Approximately 20 students from each age group are to be invited to the final round:

Age Group Score required for final round
Elite: 65
Seniors: 65
Intermediate: 60
Juniors: 60

 

2021 Statistics

The 2021 OUCC challenge took place during a global pandemic with the majority of students taking part at home. Note that this is the first year we have not awarded Merits and Distinctions based on national percentages. Final statistics for the first round:

Age Group Participants Top Scores Maximums Distinctions
(score: 40+)
Merits
(score: 25+)
Max
Elite: 584 68,68,68 6 82 108 68
Seniors: 1426 66,65,65 1 59 84 66
Intermediate: 3875 66,66,66 4 112 554 66
Juniors: 2713 58,58,52 0 31 401 66
Totals 8,598          


Approximately 20 students from each age group are to be invited to the final round:

Age Group Score required for final round
Elite: 60
Seniors: 55
Intermediate: 56
Juniors: 44

 

2020 Statistics

The final statistics for the first round of the 2020 challenge:

Age Group Participants Top Scores Mean Distinction
(top 25%)
Merit
(top 50%)
Max
Elite: 453 66,66,66 27 35+ 24+ 66
Seniors: 1426 64,64,64 22 26+ 18+ 64
Intermediate: 5119 66,66,66 21 28+ 20+ 66
Juniors: 3686 66,66,66 20 24+ 18+ 66
Totals 10,684          

* Format changed in 2020 to 5 easier tasks, 5 medium tasks and 2 harder ones.

All students got a participation certificate which they should value as they had to qualify in the top 10% of UK Bebras students to qualify for the pilot Challenge. With students still being eligible from previous years the numbers invited column has now been dropped.

Number of students achieving each award::

Age Group 66 Distinction Merit
Elite: 8 116 119
Seniors: 5 355 377
Intermediate: 25 1287 1419
Juniors: 14 1254 835

 

2019 Statistics

The final statistics for the first round of the 2019 challenge:

Age Group Invited Participants % Top Scores Mean Distinction
(top 25%)
Merit
(top 50%)
Max*
Elite: 642 327 51 90,88,84 27 32+ 24+ 66
Seniors: 1,954 942 48 88,88,76 22 28+ 22+ 66
Intermediate: 10,134 3857 38 84,84,76 19 24+ 18+ 66
Juniors:

5980

2459 41 84,78,76 20 24+ 18+ 66
Totals 18,710 7,585 41          

* Maximum score is 66 because students were asked to do five Easy tasks (worth 4 points), five medium tasks (worth 6 points), and choose 1 or 2 from the five difficult tasks (worth 8 points). Please note that the scoring system has been changed for 2018. A very few students managed to tackle more than this and so scored above the maximum.

All students got a participation certificate which they should value as they had to qualify in the top 10% of UK Bebras students to qualify for the pilot Challenge.

Number of students achieving each award::

Age Group 90 points 66+ points Distinction Merit
Elite: 1 18 82 82
Seniors:   5 236 236
Intermediate:   12 965 965
Juniors:   4 615 615

 

2018 Statistics

The final statistics for the first round of the 2018 challenge:

Age Group Invited Participants % Top Scores Mean Distinction
(top 25%)
Merit
(top 50%)
Max*
Elite: 517 257 50 90,78,74= 24 34+ 20+ 66
Seniors: 1,440 691 48 90,84,84 25 32+ 22+ 66
Intermediate: 7,115 2610 37 82,68,60= 17 22+ 16+ 66
Juniors: 4,137 1784 43 76,74,68= 16 22+ 14+ 66
Totals 13,209 5,342 41          

* Maximum score is 66 because students were asked to do five Easy tasks (worth 4 points), five medium tasks (worth 6 points), and choose 1 or 2 from the five difficult tasks (worth 8 points). Please note that the scoring system has been changed for 2018. A very few students managed to tackle more than this and so scored above the maximum.

All students got a participation certificate which they should value as they had to qualify in the top 10% of UK Bebras students to qualify for the pilot Challenge.

Number of students achieving each award::

Age Group 90 points 66 points Distinction Merit
Elite: 1 10 64 65
Seniors: 1 7 173 173
Intermediate:   2 653 652
Juniors:   4 446 446

 

2017 Statistics

The final figures for entries etc:

Age Group Invited Participants % Top Scores Mean Distinction Merit (top 30%) Max
Elite: 375 161 43 62,58,58 20 50+ 28 50
Seniors: 1154 432 37 70,70,70 17 50+ 20 50
Intermediate: 4425 1326 30 80,58,56,56,56 14 50+ 18 50
Juniors: 2252 732 33 56,56,48 12 50+ 18 50
Totals 8206 2651 32          

* Maximum score is 50 because students were asked to do five Easy tasks (worth 2 points), five medium tasks (worth 4 points), and choose 1 or 2 from the five difficult tasks (worth 10 points). Please note that the scoring system has been changed for 2018. A very few students managed to tackle more than this and so scored above the maximum.

All students got a participation certificate which they should value as they had to qualify in the top 10% of UK Bebras students to qualify for the pilot Challenge.

The Distinction certificates were awarded to those that achieved the theoretical maximum (or above). This is expected to be an exclusive award that only very few will achieve but many will aspire to.

Number of students achieving each award::

Age Group 80 points Distinction Merit
Elite:   9 37
Seniors:   13 115
Intermediate: 1 4 397
Juniors:   2 211
 
 

Answers

Answer booklets are now only available to teachers in the Documents section of the admin facility so that tasks from our archive can be used in quizzes within the school.

 

Student FAQs

Can anyone take part?
Only invited students can take part. (The most common route to an invitation is to achieve a score that places the student in the top 10% in the UK Bebras Challenge.)

Why didn't I get an answer to my email?
We have a policy of not collecting students' email addresses or communicating directly with students. If you wish to make an enquiry, please ask your teacher to do so on your behalf.

Are there prizes?
There is a first, second and third prize awarded to the top three finalists in each age group nationally. In 2018, these were:
    First prize: A pi-top
    Second prize: A pi-topCEED
    Third prize: A Raspberry Pi starter kit

Can anyone use or try the past challenges?
Yes. Simply head over to the archive section (no login required)

Is it impossible to complete all the tasks in an hour?
Very few students manage to solve 12 tasks in the hour. Each year students are encouraged to try and beat their previous year's score.

Are the longer tasks most easily solved in Python?
The longer tasks are designed to be algorithmic problems with no specific language in mind. It should be possible to solve them in any of the major programming languages taught in UK Schools.

Are answers provided?
Teachers have access to answers to archived challenges.

Why are answers only provided in Blockly and Python?
It is not possible to provide answers in all the languages taught in UK Schools. However, as the tasks are algorithmic problems, it should be possible to use the code provided to work out a solution in your preferred language.

Will I need to qualify each year by coming in the top 10% of Bebras?
No this is not necessary. Once you have been invited to take part in the Oxford Computing Challenge you will be invited every subsequent year while still of school age.

The area to program in Blockly is too small
The space for your blocks can be increased by collapsing the question menu:
hide menu button

Are there any debugging tools in Blockly?
By right-clicking on a block you can disable it:
hide menu button

This can be useful when trying to find out which part of your code is doing something unexpected or, in Picture module questions, if your partial solution is getting in the way of the shadow image you are trying to produce.

 

Teacher FAQs

Can anyone use the past challenges?
Yes. Simply head over to the archive section (no login required)

Which of my students have been invited?
These can be obtained from the admin site by logging in with your Bebras coordinators username and password.

How do I get my usernames and passwords for my participating students?
These can be obtained from the admin site from January 1st 2022. Please keep an eye out for new posts in the Messages section.

When does this year's challenge take place?
The first round takes place in schools during the week beginning 7th February 2022.

Are answers and the thinking behind each task provided?
Yes, after each official Challenge an answer booklet is provided. These are available in the Documents section of the admin website

Do I need to adjust the age groups of the students from Bebras?
No this is not normally necessary. The age groups are based on school academic years and so the students will be in the same age groups in February as they were in the previous November when they took part in the UK Bebras Challenge. The exception is for those students who are invited due to qualification in a previous year who may need to have their age group changed if they have now crossed one of our two year boundaries.

Will my students need to qualify each year by coming in the top 10% of Bebras?
No this is not necessary. Once a student has been invited to take part in the Oxford University Computing Challenge they will be invited every subsequent year while still of school age.

I am not getting any emails?
School filters are intercepting a large number of emails sent out from our mailing list. As such important information for participants is posted in the Status section found in the left menu after clicking on the  Challenges tab. Important information for teachers will be posted in the Messages section of the bebras admin website.

 

Countries

OUCC is currently available in these countries:

Australian flag
Australia
(2021: 927 participants)
Flag of the People's Republic of China
China
(2021: 654 participants)
Jamaican flag
Jamaica
(2021: 382 participants)
Union Jack
United Kingdom
(2022: 13,354 participants)



Contacts

For further information about this Challenge, please email: info@oucc.uk

 

Organisers

logo
Oxford University is the Organising Body of the competition. To find out more about Computer Science and courses involving Computer Science please visit their website.
www.cs.ox.ac.uk

 

Raspberry Pi Logo

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is, in partnership with the Oxford University, the National Organising Body of the UK Bebras Challenge. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a registered charity dedicated to the advancement of education in computing and the use computing technology across other subjects, including STEM and the creative arts. In pursuit of its charitable mission the Foundation designs and sells the Raspberry Pi computer, a small credit card sized Linux computer that retails for $35. Proceeds from selling Raspberry Pis are ploughed back into supporting educational projects aligned to the Foundations goals via the Raspberry Pi Education Fund.
www.raspberrypi.org

 

 

OUCC is part of the UKCT
Challenges Progression
Pathway