Level 3

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91906: Use complex programming techniques to develop a computer program

Updated December 2021. This document has been updated in its entirety to address new issues that have arisen from moderation.

Students need to demonstrate at least two complex techniques in their program. Examples of complex programming techniques are given in Explanatory Note 5. These provide guidance about the level expectations, but are not an exhaustive list. Assessors may need to determine other techniques that are complex, and should indicate what these are.

Students are required to test and debug their program. Testing should be clearly documented, and the evidence should show which tests the program has passed.

For Merit, the program should have been tested on both ‘expected’ cases and relevant ‘boundary’ cases. The task must provide the opportunity for ‘boundary’ cases to be tested.

Students need to follow conventions for the programming language. Most languages have well-established conventions, particularly relating to naming, code layout and organisation. There are automated tools to check conventions available for many popular languages.

For Excellence, the program needs to be flexible and robust. For example, using constants in place of numeric literals and the effective use of parameters. The program should also have been comprehensively tested.


All submissions require digital copies of the source code, as well as other evidence prepared to meet the standard.

For programs written in less commonly used languages, a video of the program being run is required for moderation. The video should include voice-over or subtitles which describe what is happening.

Students who are using commonly used languages such as Python, Java, JavaScript and C# are also encouraged to supply video evidence. Version control solutions, such as GitHub, can also be used to reduce the workload so that students can focus on producing the testing and debugging evidence discussed above.

Assessors will need to ensure that the prepared supporting evidence such as voice-over video files, online version control tools or separate testing documents is accessible to the moderator. When files are password-protected the access settings should be changed appropriately to allow the moderation process to occur.

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