The school offers a choice of two courses at Key Stage 4. The OCR Cambridge National Award (Level 2) provides learners with a range of practical units offering hands-on experience that is valued by both colleges and future employers. Pupils gain valuable knowledge of how ICT and computing underpins the modern world and drives change. Computer Science is a course designed specifically for those pupils who may wish to go on to study A-level programming with a view to a career in computer programming.
ICT - The OCR Cambridge National Award (Level 2)
The OCR Cambridge National Award (Level 2 )provides learners with a range of practical units offering hands-on experience that is valued by both colleges and future employers. Pupils gain valuable knowledge of how ICT and computing underpins the modern world and drives change.
The course has the benefit of offering assessment that is suited to a range of learners as there is both an examination element and a significant coursework component.
The course consists of four units:
- Understanding Computers (examination assessed theory unit)
- Using ICT to create business solutions (practical business based tasks using advanced Word, Access and Excel)
- Planning, researching and creating an interactive multimedia project
- Planning, creating and testing a film-based project.
This is a challenging GCSE and is only suitable for pupils who have shown and proven an aptitude for programming. It is an excellent course for those who wish to study programming as a future career.
PRACTICAL INVESTIGATION (CONTROLLED ASSESSMENT) ICT AT KEY STAGE 4
Strong organisational and analytical skills are required to complete this component. Candidates will carry out an investigation and research a topic. They will provide evidence of technical understanding to produce effective and efficient solutions to problems. They will evaluate and modify their solutions based on test results. The coursework will then be written up as a formal report.
PROGRAMMING PROJECT (CONTROLLED ASSESSMENT)
Candidates will be issued with a range of tasks. They will independently identify the requirements for a solution to a problem and design suitable algorithms to create this solution. They will be able to design suitable input, output and navigation methods; identify suitable variables and validation procedures. From this, they will develop a coded solution and demonstrate how they have tested and refined this code during development. Their coded solution must then be tested using their own test plan and valid success criteria. Finally, they will modify their system to meet success criteria where these have not been met.
COMPUTER SYSTEMS (TERMINAL EXAMINATION)
Candidates will be tested in 7 areas of knowledge:-
Fundamentals: How data is inputted and converted; how data is processed; how data is stored, transmitted and output. They will also be able to explain professional standards in the development and use of computer systems. They will explain ethical, environmental and legal considerations when developing software.
Hardware: Candidates will develop an understanding of hardware and explain the purpose, function and characteristics of the CPU. They will be able to explain why data is represented in binary form and produce logic diagrams using the NOT, AND, OR operations. They will describe RAM, ROM, virtual, cache and flash memory. They will be able to select and justify suitable storage devices and media for a given application.
Software: Candidates will be able to explain the functions of: operating systems; user interface; memory management; peripheral management; multi-tasking and security. They will also be able to explain the purpose and use of: utility programs for computer security (anti-virus, spyware and firewalls): disk organisation (file transfer, formatting and defragmentation) and system maintenance (system information and diagnosis).
Data Representation: Strong mathematical skills are required for this component. Candidates will be able to convert denary whole numbers to 8-bit binary numbers and 2-digit hexadecimal and vice versa. They will add 8-bit binary integers and explain overflow messages which may occur. Candidates will explain how images are represented using pixels in binary and the need for metadata to be included in the file. They will understand how sound is sampled and stored in digital form.
Databases: Candidates will be able to explain how data handling software is used to create, maintain and interrogate a database and describe how DBMS can be used to create customised data handling procedures. They will also understand the components of a relational database and the relationship between them. They will understand logical operators, connecting key fields, data redundancy and methods of data validation.
Communication and Networking: Candidates will describe the components of different network topologies such as hub/switches/routers, access points and servers. They will be able to explain: IP addressing; packets, protocols; access levels; encryption techniques; disaster recovery; back up and archiving. They will have an understanding of: internet DNS services; HTM;, common file formats and the difference between lossy and lossless compression.
Programming: Candidates should be able to understand, correct, complete and produce algorithms written in pseudocode. They will be able to explain the difference between high level and machine code and the need for translators, assemblers and compilers. Candidates will be able to describe: data types; integer;, real; Boolean; character and string and perform operations on numeric and Boolean data. They will be able to understand and identify syntax and logic errors.
GCSE COMPUTING - OVERVIEW OF CONTENT
- Develop their understanding of current and emerging technologies, understanding of how they work and applying this knowledge and understanding in a range of contexts
- Acquire and apply a knowledge, some technical skills and an understanding of the use of algorithms in computer programs to solve problems using programming
- Use their knowledge and understanding of computer technology to become independent and discerning users of IT, able to make informed decisions about the use and be aware of the implications of different technologies
- Acquire and apply creative and technical skills, knowledge and understanding of IT in a range of contexts
- Develop computer programs to solve problems • develop the skills to work collaboratively • evaluate the effectiveness of computer programme
OVERVIEW OF ASSESSMENT
Unit A451 Computer systems and programming
- Written paper 1 hour 30 mins
- 80 marks 40% of the qualification
- Candidates answer all questions. Question paper that includes a mixture of short and long answer questions, some of which will require candidates to write program code.
Unit A452 Practical investigation Controlled Assessment
- An investigative task
- Approximately 20 hours
- 45 marks 30% of the qualification
- Candidates carry out a practical investigation of a topic chosen from a set of options supplied by OCR.
Unit A453 Programming project Controlled Assessment
- Approximately 20 hours
- 45 marks 30% of the qualification.
- Candidates create solutions to computing tasks from a set of options supplied by OCR.