Jumpstart Lab Curriculum



  • Work on the exercise defined below for 30 minutes with your facilitator
  • The facilitator will assign you a challenge similar but not identical to those in the test suite. The facilitator may change the expectations or ask additional questions to assess your understandings/skills
  • As you work, you may:
    • Ask questions of your facilitator
    • Reference external public resources (ie: Google, Ruby API, etc)
    • Use the tooling most comfortable to you (Editor/IDE, testing framework, support tools like Guard, etc)
  • As you work, you should not:
    • Copy code snippets other than those present in this description
    • Seek live support from individuals other than your facilitator

Getting Started

Because of the compressed timeline, we’ve created a starter repo with some of the grunt work taken care of. Begin by cloning the repo from GitHub and running bundle to install dependencies:


git clone https://github.com/turingschool/scrabblecd scrabblebundle

Sample Exercise

During the assessment, you’ll be assigned an exercise similar to the one below.

Word Scoring

Let’s use test-driven development to build pieces of a Scrabble-like game.

Create functionality to score words based on the following letter values:

Letter                           Value
A, E, I, O, U, L, N, R, S, T       1
D, G                               2
B, C, M, P                         3
F, H, V, W, Y                      4
K                                  5
J, X                               8
Q, Z                               10

Or, represented by a Ruby hash:

  "A"=>1, "B"=>3, "C"=>3, "D"=>2,
  "E"=>1, "F"=>4, "G"=>2, "H"=>4,
  "I"=>1, "J"=>8, "K"=>5, "L"=>1,
  "M"=>3, "N"=>1, "O"=>1, "P"=>3,
  "Q"=>10, "R"=>1, "S"=>1, "T"=>1,
  "U"=>1, "V"=>4, "W"=>4, "X"=>8,
  "Y"=>4, "Z"=>10

Create your solution:

  • using Test-Driven Development with MiniTest or RSpec
  • insensitive to case
  • such that an empty word or nil scores 0
  • using this interaction model:


> game = Scrabble.new=> ...> game.score("hello")=> 8> game.score("")=> 0> game.score(nil)=> 0


Subjective evaluation will be made on your work/process according to the following criteria:

1. Ruby Syntax & API

  • 4: Developer is able to comfortably implement solutions using the best-choice tools Ruby has to offer
  • 3: Developer is able to comfortably implement solutions in Ruby
  • 2: Developer is generally able to write Ruby, but gets stuck on or needs help with fundamental concepts
  • 1: Developer spends significant time debugging elementary syntax or concepts

2. Ruby Style

  • 4: Developer solves problems with a balance between conciseness and clarity
  • 3: Developer writes code that is easy to follow
  • 2: Developer writes code that has unnecessary variables, operations, or steps which do not increase clarity
  • 1: Developer writes code that is difficult to understand

3. Blocks & Enumerations

  • 4: Developer is able to consistently select and implement the best-choice enumerator methods with blocks
  • 3: Developer demonstrates understanding of blocks and can effectively use enumerable methods
  • 2: Developer can use enumerator methods, but struggles to choose the right one for the job or demonstrates weak understanding of blocks
  • 1: Developer is not able to use enumerator methods or blocks to solve the problem at hand

4. Testing

  • 4: Developer consistently takes small steps, using the tests for both design and verification
  • 3: Developer uses tests to guide development in small chunks
  • 2: Developer uses tests to guide development, but does not break features down into small problems
  • 1: Developer does not integrate testing throughout their development process

5. Workflow

  • 4: Developer is a master of their tools, efficiently moving between phases of development
  • 3: Developer demonstrates comfort with their tools and makes some use of keyboard shortcuts
  • 2: Developer smoothly moves between tools, but is dependent entirely on mouse-driven interaction
  • 1: Developer gets work done, but wastes significant time or screen real estate

6. Collaboration

  • 4: Developer actively seeks collaboration both before implementing, while in motion, and when stuck
  • 3: Developer lays out their thinking before attacking a problem and integrates feedback through the process
  • 2: Developer asks detailed questions when progress slows or stops
  • 1: Developer is able to integrate unsolicited feedback but does not really collaborate

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