American Computer Science League

ACSL American Computer Science Thinking Challenge Overview

The American Computer Science League (ACSL) was originally established in Silicon Valley in 1978 as the Rhode Island Computer Science League, later renamed the New England Computer Science League. As more participants from around the world joined, it was renamed the American Computer Science League. With a history spanning over 44 years, ACSL is one of the oldest computer programming competitions for elementary and secondary students in the U.S. The event is officially endorsed by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the Computer Science Teachers Association, and supported by prominent tech and educational companies like Google, Adobe, No Starch Press, O’Reilly Media, Pearson, Pragmatic Bookshelf, and Wolfram. The increasing global emphasis on coding education attracts hundreds of teams and participants from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia annually.

The Prestige of ACSL

Significant International Impact

ACSL is a crucial contest in the field of American computer science, offering competitors the opportunity to match skills with top international talents and broadening their global perspectives.

Comprehensive Academic Integration

ACSL extends beyond just programming; it covers various aspects of computer science, fostering students’ comprehensive skills and preparing them for versatile future roles in technology.

Substantial Awards

Beyond highly regarded certificates, ACSL also provides substantial cash prizes and trophies, encouraging students to excel and showcase their individual talents and collective intelligence.

Event Details

Test Format

Bilingual (Chinese and English) test papers.

Programming Language

Participants may use any programming language they are proficient in.

Challenge Type

Individual or team participation (minimum of two members per team).

Competition Venue

Online - across designated schools nationwide.

Appropriate Grades

Students from grades 3 to 12.

Participation Requirement

Participants need to bring their own computers.

ACSL Competition Divisions Explained

  • Senior Division: Designed for high school students with extensive programming experience, particularly those studying AP Computer Science. It is recommended that first-time participants in ACSL do not register for this division.

  • Intermediate Division: Suitable for high school students and upper-middle school students with some programming experience, offering a moderate challenge.

  • Junior Division: Intended for middle school students with no programming experience. Students in grade 9 or above are not eligible for this division.

  • Elementary Division: Open to students from grades 3 to 6. The competition consists of non-programming problems covering four categories. Each contest involves a 30-minute test with 5 problems, totaling 5 points.

Participation Eligibility Adjustments

  • Younger participants with strong programming skills may choose to register for higher-level divisions, e.g., a proficient elementary student may opt for the Intermediate or Junior Division, and a middle schooler for the Senior Division.

  • High school students are not allowed to register for the Elementary and Junior Divisions, and middle school students cannot register for the Elementary Division, ensuring fairness in the competition.

ACSL Competition Divisions and Format Details

Elementary Division:

  • Format: Each contest consists of 5 mathematical programming problems.
  • Time Limit: Total duration of 30 minutes.
  • Scoring: 1 point per problem, 5 points in total.

Junior, Intermediate, and Senior Divisions:

Part One: Individual Written Exam

  • Content: 5 mathematical programming problems.
  • Duration: 30 minutes.
  • Scoring: 1 point per problem, 5 points in total.

Part Two: Team Programming Challenge

  • Content: 1 programming problem, to be completed independently by team members without discussion.
  • Duration: 2 hours.
  • Scoring: Total of 5 points, individual submissions required from each team member.

Additional Information:

  • Programming Languages: Teams may use any programming language they are most familiar with.
  • Internet Usage: The use of WIFI or other network connections is prohibited during the competition.
  • These rules ensure the integrity and challenge of the contest while encouraging students to demonstrate their individual and team programming skills within a specified time.

Awards Setup

  • Gold Award: Achievable by surpassing the committee’s set scoreline for gold.
  • Silver Award: Granted to those surpassing the silver scoreline.
  • Bronze Award: Awarded to those exceeding the bronze scoreline.

Start learning with Coding Mind!

Turn your child’s passion into a professional skill.

Contact Us