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Computer Science A'level at Newstead Wood School

Course description

Awarding Body: AQA

AS Specification: 7516

A Level Specification: 7517

Course content

AS Level

  1. Fundamentals of programming.
  2. Fundamentals of data structures.
  3. Fundamentals of algorithms.
  4. Theory of computation.
  5. Fundamentals of data representation.
  6. Fundamentals of computer systems.
  7. Fundamentals of computer organisation & architecture.
  8. Consequences of uses of computing.
  9. Fundamentals of communication & networking

A Level

  1. Fundamentals of programming.
  2. Fundamentals of data structures.
  3. Fundamentals of algorithms.
  4. Theory of computation.
  5. Fundamentals of data representation.
  6. Fundamentals of computer systems
  7. Fundamentals of computer organisation & architecture.
  8. Consequences of uses of computing.
  9. Fundamentals of communication & networking.
  10. Fundamentals of databases.
  11. Big Data.
  12. Fundamentals of functional programming.
  13. Systematic approach to problem solving.

Subject Specific Skills and Concepts

The course is not about learning to use tools or just training in a programming language. Instead the emphasis is on computational thinking. Computational thinking is a kind of reasoning used by both humans and machines. Thinking computationally is an important life skill. Thinking computationally means using abstraction and decomposition. The study of computation is about what can be computed and how to compute it. Computer Science involves questions that have the potential to change how we view the world. For example, we may be computing with DNA at some stage in the future, with computer circuits made of genes. This leads to the question, does the natural world ‘compute’?

Methods of Learning

Practical skills – developed through a variety of progressive programming tasks & exercises.

Theoretical understanding – the practical work is designed to complement the theory components. Students are also expected to learn new subject knowledge and become proficient in applying their knowledge to answer questions and solve Computing based problems. Students are encouraged to supplement their knowledge with background reading from course textbooks and other sources.

Entry requirements

To be accepted onto this course, students should have at least an A grade in GCSE Computer Science, if it was taken at GCSE. Additionally, they need at least GCSE grade 7 in Maths & GCSE grade 7 in English. They must also meet the school’s general entry requirements.

We are aware that not all students will have had the opportunity to study Computer Science at GCSE. This course can be taught ab initio, so we do accept students with no prior Computing knowledge. If a student has not studied GCSE Computer Science, s/he will need at least GCSE grade 7 in Maths & GCSE grade 7 in English. Candidates should have acquired the skills and knowledge associated with GCSE Information and Communication Technology or equivalent and may be required to attend an interview to ascertain their suitability for this course.

Assessment

AS Level:

  • 1 hour 30 minute on-screen examination (points 1-4) 50%
  • 1 hour 30 minute written examination (points 5-9) 50%

A Level:

  • 2 hour 30 minutes on-screen examination (points 10-13, 22) 40%
  • 2 hour 30 minutes written examination (points 14-21) 40%
  • Non exam assessment (computing practical project) 20%

Future opportunities

Post A Level Progression

This course has been designed for students who wish to go on to higher education courses or employment where knowledge of Computing would be beneficial. One can study Computing and go on to a career in medicine, law, business, politics or any type of science. This subject is now a prerequisite to some university computer-based courses, although students are encouraged to check this for any courses that they may wish to follow at a later date.

Further information

This is a relatively new course for Newstead Wood School. The department has offered the course for 3 years now and has a 100% pass rate, with 33% of students being awarded an A in last summer’s examination.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Newstead Wood School directly.

Last updated date: 03 November 2016
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