Computer Science KS4
What will students study in Computer Science this year?
In Year 9 students start their GCSE course. The course offered is the AQA GCSE in Computer Science, specification 8525. The course covers both theoretical and practical programming aspects of computer science, with programming being used to support the theory covered. Students use the high-level programming language, Python. 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
In Year 10 and 11 students continue with their GCSE course. The Subject content is made of:
- Fundamentals of algorithms
- Fundamentals of data representation
- Computer systems
- Fundamentals of computer networks
- Cyber security
- Relational databases and structured query language (SQL)
- Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy
What are the major assessments this year?
Students are assessed on each topic building to a major assessment at the end of the academic year, which is based on past GCSE questions.
At the end of Year 11 there will be 2 papers:
Paper 1: Computational thinking and programming skills (50% of GCSE)
Paper 2: Computing concepts (50% of GCSE)
What do assessments test?
Assessments target three Assessment Objectives set out in the exam board specification.AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key concepts and principles of computer science. AO2: Apply knowledge and understanding of key concepts and principles of computer science. AO3: Analyse problems in computational terms: to make reasoned judgements and to design, program, evaluate and refine solutions. Assessments will test application of knowledge, understanding and skills through a variety of multiple choice. short sentence answers and long answers as well as practical programming skills.
What are the expectations of my daughter in Computer Science?
Students will be expected to bring their class workbook and equipment to each lesson. They will be expected to come to each lesson with an open and questioning mind and to become involved in class discussions. Homework will be submitted on the due date. Students will have access to the lesson PowerPoints. Pupils are also expected to review the knowledge organisers in their booklets and complete all homework and online quizzes to the best of their ability. In addition, your daughter can use the software or programming languages used in class to create her own work, e.g. develop programs in python. Your daughter should also keep abreast of developments in IT.
What should my daughter do if she feels she is struggling in the subject?
In the first instance, she should speak to her subject teacher. She should try to identify specific areas of the subject which she is finding a challenge so that we can offer targeted support.
How can I best support my daughter in Computer Science?
The best way to provide general support by talking to them about their work in the subject and how things are going. It’s also worth talking to your daughter about how you use IT in your everyday life, be it your smartphone, surfing the web or at work.
Whom should I contact for further advice or information?
Please feel free to contact your daughter’s Computer Science teacher by email, or the Head of Computer Science, Mr Ahmad, on firstname.lastname@example.org with as much detailed information as possible.