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Computer Science in the Sixth Form

A Level Computer Science 

 Students follow the AQA Information Communication Technology course where students develop an understanding of how ICT can be used in society and organisations and the implications of its use.  In addition, students advance knowledge and skills designing, building and evaluating ICT-based solutions to a range of problems.

 The emphasis of this course is on the use of the computer in the business environment and its impact on society in general.  In Year 12 students will acquire skills on the use of computers, associated software and communication systems as the essential business tools of our age. Practical skills and knowledge will be acquired in a range of application packages including databases and spreadsheets.  These skills will be used to solve problems and the study of the opportunities for and affects of using ICT in the world today.  Students will also have opportunities for acquiring skills needed in the IT profession such as co-operative working and project management.  These practical skills can be developed in areas of ICT that are of interest to them.  They will also develop the more sophisticated skills of report writing and presentations.  Work Experience is a vital component of this course for providing information as well as enhancing your CV and writing personal statements for university applications, further training or employment.

What is the course about?

Advances in computing are transforming the way we work and our new AQA Computer Science specification is fit for this. This course is built on strong foundations to deliver a flexible, accessible and rigorous qualification. It focuses on the knowledge, understanding and skills students need to progress to higher education or thrive in the workplace. Computer Science is about computation and how computers can be used to solve problems. There is a great emphasis on programming using the Python programming language, and on the development of logical problem-solving techniques. 

What sort of work will I be doing?

You will learn fundamentals of programming including the concept of data type, including primitive data types and complex data structures, following and writing algorithms, methods of capturing, selecting, exchanging and managing data to produce information for a particular purpose.  In addition, students will develop the following skills; problem solving, design, write and test programs to either a specification or to solve a problem, articulate how a program works, arguing for its correctness and efficiency using logical reasoning, test data, and user feedback, use abstraction effectively and to appropriately structure programs into modular parts with clear well documented interfaces to model selected aspects of the external world in a program and apply computing-related mathematics. 

How will I be assessed?
Paper 1
This paper tests a student's ability to program as well as their theoretical knowledge of Computer Science
 
Assessed
 
On-screen exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
40% of A-level
 
Questions
 
Students answer a series of short questions and write/adapt/extend programs in an Electronic Answer Document provided by us.
 
Paper 2
This paper tests a student's ability to answer questions from subject content 
 
Assessed
 
Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
40% of A-level
 
Questions
 
Compulsory short-answer and extended-answer questions.
Non-exam assessment
The non-exam assessment assesses student's ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve a practical problem. Students will be expected to follow a systematic approach to problem solving
Assessed
75 marks
20% of A-level
What qualifications are needed to take this course?
Students will be expected to have studied ICT or Computer Science at GCSE level and gained a minimum B grade.  (If you do not have a formal ICT or computer science qualification at GCSE level, then you will be assessed overall on your academic ability and suitability for the course). 
What extra work can I do?
There are numerous online courses like CodeAcademy and Khan Academy to improve your computer programming knowledge and skills.
And finally…

Computer Science is an extremely useful A Level leading into a wide variety of computer-based disciplines plus technologically rich subjects such as engineering or science, whilst also ensuring a pathway into employment in industry involving computing or problem-solving skills.

 

 





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