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Computer Science

Exam Board:  OCR

Why should I choose to study Computer Science?

Our aim is to deliver a rounded computing curriculum, raising attainment and to build a culture of achievement within the department.  If you enjoy exploring and you like trying things, the computing course is for you.  You will need to be good in Mathematics and enjoy finding things out in order to be successful in computing.  We will enable you to become lifelong, enterprising, independent learners, able to take risks and assume responsibility confidently. The following is a list of top ten reasons to study computer science:

1. Computing is part of everything we do!
2. Expertise in computing enables you to solve complex, challenging problems. 
3. Computing enables you to make a positive difference in the world.  
4. Computing offers many types of lucrative careers. 
5. Computing jobs are here to stay, regardless of where you are located.  Expertise in computing helps even if your primary career is something else. 
6. Computing offers great opportunities for true creativity and innovativeness
7. Computing has space for both collaborative work and individual effort.  Computing is an essential part of well-rounded academic preparation. 
8. Future opportunities in computing are without boundaries. 

What will I learn?

The WJEC GCSE in Computer Science encourages learners to:

Understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including; abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation;

Analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs to do so;

Think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically;

Understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems;

Understand the impacts of digital technology to the individual and to wider society;

Apply mathematical skills relevant to computer science.

Computers are widely used in all aspects of business, industry, government, education, leisure and the home. In this technological age, a study of computer science, and particularly how computers are used in the solution of a variety of problems, is essential to learners.

What will be expected of me?

The study of computer science will enable students to develop a broad range of skills in the areas of programming, system development, computer architecture, data, communication and applications.

Computer science integrates well with subjects across the curriculum. It demands both logical discipline and imaginative creativity in the selection and design of algorithms and the writing, testing and debugging of programs; it relies on an understanding of the rules of language at a fundamental level; it encourages an awareness of the management and organisation of computer systems; it extends learners’ horizons beyond the school or college environment in the appreciation of the effects of computer science on society and individuals.

What skills will I develop?

You will develop the ability to apply “Computational thinking” and foster the skills and knowledge required for further study. This will include applying mathematical logic to create different computer programmes. The skills will prepare students for real world computer challenges.

How will I be assessed?

The subject content for GCSE Computer Science will be assessed across three units. Whist there is a degree of overlap between the content in Unit 1 and Unit 2, the context in which this content is assessed differs. In Unit 1, content is assessed in a theoretical way, whereas in Unit 2 it is assessed through its use within programs and algorithms.

Unit 1: Understanding Computer Science
Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes
50% of the qualification
100 marks
Unit 2: Computational Thinking and Programming
On-screen examination: 2 hours
30% of the qualification
60 marks
Unit 3: Software Development
Non-exam assessment: 20 hours
20% of qualification
80 marks

Where will this qualification lead me? 

It’s no exaggeration to say the world runs on computers. They are everywhere: in homes, schools and offices but not just in the way you think. They are also embedded in all sorts of machines. Computers control airplanes, chemical plants, send rockets to space, control the central heating and make sure your Mum’s car runs efficiently. As new things are developed, the world needs more and more people to research new ways of using computers to do the things they want.

GCSE Computer Science (Computing) is a great foundation for going on to do Computing at A level. And Computing at A level is a great foundation for going on to study Computer Science at University. And that can open up a lot of possibilities!
But you don’t have to want to go on to be a computer scientist to do this course – you might just be curious about learning a bit more. That’s why we are offering it. The skills you learn will be of enormous benefit in lots of your other subjects. Nicholas Negroponte – a famous man whose ‘One Laptop per Child’ project is trying to get computers to children in the developing world once said, “Computer programming is a powerful tool for children to ‘learn learning,’ that is, to learn the skills of thinking and problem-solving... Children who engage in programming transfer that kind of learning to other things.”