|Exam Board||Entry Requirements||Subject Leader|
|AQA||Grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics
||Mr L Fitzmaurice|
This course has been designed to prepare students who wish to go onto higher education courses or employment where knowledge of computer science is beneficial. The course is designed to encourage students to develop their problem-solving abilities in a computing context using an algorithmic approach. It is designed to encourage students to demonstrate their knowledge of programming through a problem solving scenario and, finally, develop an understanding of the hardware and software aspects of computing.
The course is split into three Units, each of which is detailed below.
This unit tests students’ ability to program, as well as their theoretical knowledge of computer science. It covers:
- Fundamentals of programming
- Fundamentals of data structures
- Fundamental of algorithms
- Theory of computation and the skills required from having a systematic approach to problem solving
This unit introduces students to the topics of:
- Fundamentals of data representation
- Fundamentals of computer systems
- Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture
- Consequences of uses of computing
- Fundamentals of communication and networking
- Fundamentals of databases
- Big data
- Fundamentals of functional programming
This Unit is a non-examination practical assessment, which assesses the student's ability to apply knowledge and skills gained throughout the course to solve or investigate a practical problem. Students are expected to follow a systematic approach to problem solving.
Each of the three Units studied in A-Level Computer Science are assessed separately:
- Unit 1 is assessed by an on-screen examination lasting 2 hours and 30 minutes. Students answer a series of short questions and write/adapt/extend programs in an electronic answer document provided by the examination board. The examination board issues preliminary material, a skeleton program and, where appropriate, test data, for use in the exam. This exam is worth 40% of the grade.
- Unit 2 is assessed by a written examination lasting 2 hours and 30 minutes. It features compulsory short-answer and extended-answer questions. It is worth 40% of the grade.
- Unit 3 is assessed by documentation produced by the student, as described above. It is worth 20% of the grade.
Progression into Higher Education/Vocational Destinations
Students may wish to continue studies in a computing related course in further education or seek employment in the ever growing computer related industries. Please be aware when considering options that Computer Science is very different to the discontinued ICT A Level, in that it is about the scientific understanding of how computer systems work, rather than how they are used. A GCSE in Computer Science is not necessary but is helpful and experience of writing simple computer programs in any procedural or object-oriented language is advantageous.