Computer Science

Computer Science – OCR

Computer Science has real relevance in our world and many students are interested and active computer programmers at home, or they may be keen on ‘fixing’ computers for family and friends. This course is aimed at extending, broadening and formalising their knowledge, giving them an understanding of how computer technology works as well as what goes on inside a computer.

Who’s it for?

The GCSE in Computer Science option is for people who are very interested in Computers and Computer Programming.  All our students have had the chance to do programming at school with html and Python, so they will know whether or not they enjoy it.

It is VERY important to think about how good they are at maths.  If they are in set one or two, they should enjoy the course and the mathematical challenges it contains.  If they are below maths set two then they will find the maths and the theory very challenging, which could make them unhappy or lower their self-confidence.  In addition, students are not allowed a calculator in the exams.  One activity to help with decision making would be to ask if they can easily convert numbers to binary and then add up in binary.  If these activities are ones they can’t do or don’t enjoy, then they should think very hard about whether Computer Science is for them.  At GCSE, students have to be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide in binary, as well as be familiar with other bases.

What you study in Computer Science

This is a full course GCSE offered via the OCR examination board, and is a new specification for teaching from September 2020.  The course consists of 2 units:

01: Computing Systems

Studying the following topics: Systems Architecture, Memory and Storage, Networks, Network Security, Operating Systems, Ethical/legal/cultural/environmental impacts.

  • It is assessed through a written paper lasting 1½ hrs and worth 50% of the qualification.
  • You have to answer all the questions which are a mixture of multiple choice, short response and extended response questions.

02: Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming

Studying the following topics: Algorithms, Programming Fundamentals, Producing Robust Programs, Boolean Logic, Programming languages and the IDE

  • This is assessed with a written paper lasting 1½ hours and worth 50% of the qualification
  • You have to answer all the questions. There are two sections:
    • Section A is short response and extended response questions on the theory aspects of programming and producing machine code (50/80 marks)
    • Section B will test the skills of reading/writing/refining algorithms (30/80 marks)

Programming skills are emphasized during the course; students have to have a complete a significant amount of time on programming projects.  The time given has to be recorded and reported back to the exam board.

The course requires a high standard of technical writing in both of the examinations: good skills in reading and writing will make a positive difference.

Summary of Assessments

Component

How it is assessed

Length of Assessment

01

·       Written paper – Non calculator

·       80 marks

1½ hours

02

  • Written paper – Non calculator
  • Two sections:
  • Section A is short response and extended response questions (50/80 marks)
  • Section B will be testing the skills of reading/writing/refining algorithms (30/80 marks)

1½ hours

Further Education/Career Opportunities

This course is an excellent preparation for future study or work in areas relying on logic or critical thinking, especially where they are applied to technical problems eg Engineering, Finance, Management, Science, Medicine and IT.  Computer Science will increasingly be important and there is high demand for professionals who are qualified.

In the Sixth Form at Heart of England we offer A Level Computer Science. This GCSE is a good preparation for that A Level, as well a foundation for many other subjects.  After school there are many careers to consider, including Computing/Computer Science, Forensic Computer Science, Cyber Security, Machine Learning, Penetration Testing, Web Development, Computer Games Design and E-Sports, all of which require logical thinkers and the skills from this course.

Apprenticeship-degree opportunities for students with an interest in working in the IT industry are increasing.  GCSE (and A Level) Computer Science is an asset to applications.

There is currently a severe shortage of people going into Computer based careers.

This subject would suit students who

This subject might not be right for students who

  • Enjoy and are good at mathematics
  • Enjoy science
  • Enjoy foreign languages, or music (reading music is good training in de-coding)
  • Like solving problems – and are prepared to persist until the problem is solved
  • Write programs already
  • Like finding out things about technology
  • Have good skills at research and writing
  • Are ambitious
  • Are below set 2 in maths (there is a lot of maths and logic in it)
  • Cannot work IN binary (flipping between binary and denary is not the same thing)
  • Struggle with Science (especially physics)
  • Want to know the answer rather than find out for themselves
  • Hate computers
  • Get stuck and give up
  • Can’t sit still and work at a problem
  • Cannot look at an abstract and turn it into reality

Any questions? See MRS N SHARPE