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Computing AS and A Level at Park House School

Course description

The scientific study of computers can provide opportunities for careers working with a variety of computer systems. These range from engineering and scientific studies to programming and systems analysis. The course provides students with a technical understanding of computers and how they can be used in different situations. The Department consists of five computer rooms with over 100 Pentium computers and all the necessary equipment such as printers, internet access, scanners etc. Computing covers both the current technologies and perceived advances in both hardware and software, enabling students to meet the demands of a highly skilled IT focused business and industrial sector. The course also provides a firm basis for further studies in higher education in Computing and related subject areas. The course is a very technical one with detailed knowledge of a computer’s internal workings, binary number systems and object orientated programming skills required.

Course content

AS Course Summary
Students will learn about a range of computing applications and the characteristics of computer systems; they will use various forms of programming data organisation and processing to complete a computer-based project. The theoretical aspects are made up of the science of Computing and its application in networks and everyday computing.
Unit 1 Problem solving, programming, data representation and practical exercise.
60% of AS / 30% of A Level
(Exam includes some work prepared in advance by the student on a specific topic nominated by the exam board.)
• Stages of problem solving
• Drawing and interpreting simple state transition diagrams and transition tables
• Introducing the term algorithm, expressing the solution to a simple problem as an algorithm
• Programming in a high level programming language and the fundamentals of structured programming.
• The binary number system, number bases and information coding schemes.
• The stages of development of a hardware/software system.
Unit 2 Computer components, the stored program concept and the internet.
40% of AS / 20% of A Level
• Logic gates and Boolean algebra
• The internal components of a computer
• Hardware devices
• The fundamentals of computer systems
• The structure of the internet, networking protocols and the consequences of uses of computing. 
A2 Course Summary
Students will analyse a problem and identify the parts which are appropriate for their coursework, and produce a computer-based solution to that problem. They will select, justify and apply programming and analysis techniques to develop algorithms for the task. Students will design, implement and document their solution including their use of a programming language. The theory side at A2 is largely programming based and expands on the principals covered at AS Level.
Unit 3 Problem Solving, Programming, Operating Systems, Databases and Networking.
30% of A Level
• Problem solving and algorithmic complexity
• Algorithms and data structure for problem solving
• Programming paradigms and object oriented programming techniques
• The role of an operating system
• Database design
Unit 4 The computing practical project
20% of A Level
• Evaluate the possible need for development of a computer-based solution to a real problem
• Document a design that meets the requirements of a real problem in terms of hardware and software
• Document the analysis, design, construction, testing, training and maintenance of a programmed solution.

Entry requirements

Students must have studied either GCSE ICT or GCSE Computing and must have gained at least a grade B in these subjects. Due to the very technical nature of the subject, students should have a grade B in Physics (or BB in core and Additional Science), English Language and Mathematics.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Park House School directly.

Last updated date: 15 August 2016

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