Computer Science & Year 10
The Computer Science GCSE enables students to:
- develop their understanding of current and emerging technologies and the implications of these in society
- gain an in-depth understanding of how computer technology works and a look at what goes on 'behind the scenes'
- learn key computing concepts and the fundamentals of programming to solve problems in a range of contexts
- create software for technologies they use; applications that run on mobile devices; interactive web enabled solutions and computer games
- develop critical thinking, analysis and problem solving skills
- evaluate the effectiveness of computer programs and the issues related to their use
- work collaboratively
There are three units and each has its own assessment:
- Computing fundamentals - 90 minute written examination paper worth 40% of the qualification.
- Two controlled assessments –practical investigation and a programming project, each approximately 25 hours worth 30% of the qualification.
Controlled assessments are set by the examination board on a range of tasks such as game making, mobile apps, interactive web applications or more traditional PC-based programs. Students will be asked to plan and develop a programming solution to a problem that meets the needs of users, as well as undertaking independent research.
Computing Science is not an easy subject to study and will quickly look into the technical workings of computer technology and programming. Students should have good Math skills as this will generally enable them to understand the logic required for programming. In addition, students will learn how to program using a range of programming languages in a range of different contexts.
This qualification provides a superb stepping stone for students who want to go on to A Level study and employment in the field of computer science, industry recognised ICT qualifications and vocational courses. It also supports progress in other A Level subjects such as Technology, Science, Engineering and the Digital Media and Arts.
Edexcel ICT GCSE
The digital world is a rapidly changing one, with developments in both the technology and the way in which it is used. ICT is the way we communicate, the way we create, the way we buy and the way we live. ICT is now as important to students learning and future prospects as literacy and numeracy, with employers increasingly demanding ICT qualified employees and many college and university courses including ICT based content. Students can prepare themselves for the technological world we live in by learning and applying the ICT skills that are used in business, education, TV, gaming, and social networking.
The ICT GCSE enables students to:
- learn how current and emerging digital technology impacts business, leisure, shopping, money management, health and well-being and on the move
- develop an awareness of the risks and reflect critically on their own and others’ use of ICT to adopt safe, secure and responsible practice
- broaden their skills in using a range of leading software applications to produce ICT solutions which include web and graphic design, digital publications to promote events, create financial models and database systems that are central to the success of business
There are two units and each has its own assessment:
- Unit 1: Living in a Digital World (externally assessed) - 1 hour 30 minute examination paper set and marked by Edexcel. It represents 40% of the total assessment weighting of the GCSE ICT qualification.
- Unit 2: Using Digital Tools (internally assessed under controlled conditions) – It represents 60% of the total GCSE ICT qualification and is approximately 40 hours. This is a practical unit where students put into practice what they learned.
The Unit 2 project assignment is set by the examination board on a range of contexts that reflect how ICT is used in business and society. Students will be asked to plan and develop their ICT solutions to meet the needs of users, as well as undertaking independent research.
Students should be ready to learn the legal, ethical and environmental impact of ICT. As well as have an interest in the growth of online communities for socialising, shopping and learning, and how the technology behind these systems allow users to communicate.
Students will benefit from the many transferable skills inherent in the study of ICT. It will get students ready for their next steps whether that may be college, university or employment in areas as varied as business studies, fashion, engineering, graphic or game designing, media studies, tourism, health or the environment.
AQA GCSE Computer Science
Computing is of enormous importance to the economy. The role of Computer Science as a discipline itself and as an ‘underpinning’ subject across science and engineering is growing rapidly. The increase in the use of mobile devices and web-related technologies has exploded, resulting in new challenges for business. Employers today require an ever-increasing number of technologically-aware individuals and the course provides the knowledge, skills and understanding that are in demand.
AS and A2 Level Computer Science
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.
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.
Students do not need to have studied ICT or computer science at GCSE level in order to follow this course but it would be advantageous. Students will need 5 A* - C GCSEs including a grade B in Maths. (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).
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.