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IBDP Computer Science at Broadgreen International School

Course description

Computer science requires an understanding of the fundamental concepts of computational thinking as well as knowledge of how computers and other digital devices operate. 

Course content

The Diploma Programme computer science course is engaging, accessible, inspiring and rigorous. It has the following characteristics.

• draws on a wide spectrum of knowledge

• enables and empowers innovation, exploration and the acquisition of further knowledge

• interacts with and influences cultures, society and how individuals and societies behave

• raises ethical issues

• is underpinned by computational thinking.

Computational thinking involves the ability to:

• think procedurally, logically, concurrently, abstractly, recursively and think ahead

• utilise an experimental and inquiry-based approach to problem-solving

• develop algorithms and express them clearly

• appreciate how theoretical and practical limitations affect the extent to which problems can be solved computationally. During the course the student will develop computational solutions.

This will involve the ability to:

• identify a problem or unanswered question

• design, prototype and test a proposed solution

• liaise with clients to evaluate the success of the proposed solution and make recommendations for future developments.

Computer science has links with subjects outside of group 4, notably information technology in a global society (ITGS), but it should be noted that there are clear differences between the subjects. 

Computer science and the international dimension

Computer science itself is an international endeavour— the exchange of information and ideas across national boundaries has been essential to the progress of the subject. This exchange is not a new phenomenon but it has accelerated in recent times with the development of information and communication technologies. The development of solutions may be at a local, national or global scale and lies at the heart of the subject. Therefore teachers of computer science should study a range of examples from different geographical locations as well as at different scales.

Developments such as open source software and the emergence of social networking epitomize the global nature of the subject. Internet forums exist that welcome ideas and solutions developed from computer scientists from all continents in driving forward developments to different software types. These developments have revolutionized the way that people, and in particular the young, interact.

On a practical level, the group 4 project (which all science students must undertake) mirrors the work of computer scientists by encouraging collaboration between schools across the regions. 

Distinction between SL and HL

While the skills and activities of computer science are common to students at both SL and HL, students at HL are required to study additional topics in the core, a case study and also extension material of a more demanding nature in the option chosen. The distinction between SL and HL is therefore one of both breadth and depth.

Additionally, the HL course has 240 hours devoted to teaching, compared with 150 hours for the SL course. Students at SL and HL in computer science study a common core consisting of:

• four topics (system fundamentals; computer organization; networks; and computational thinking, problem-solving and programming)

• one option (chosen from databases; modelling and simulation; web science; or object-oriented programming)

• one piece of internally assessed work, which includes a computational solution.

The HL course has three additional elements:

• three further topics (abstract data structures; resource management; control)

• additional and more demanding content for the option selected

• an additional externally assessed component based on a pre-seen case study of an organisation or scenario; this requires students to research various aspects of the subject—which may include new technical concepts and additional subject content—in greater depth. 

Entry requirements

Grades A*-C in at least 6 GCSE subjects. Of these, English at Grade C or above and Maths minimum B. GCSE Computer Science is desirable but not essential As well as an academic requirement, we expect you to demonstrate an interest in world events and a commitment to making a difference in your community. World citizenship is at the heart of the IB philosophy and we will be discussing your interests, experiences and aspirations at your interview.


Future opportunities

Employers are interested in both the technical and the non-technical skills gained during your computer science/IT degree. See where these multiple skills can lead you.

Job options

• Database administrator

• Games developer

• Information systems manager

• IT consultant

• Multimedia programmer

• Network engineer

• Systems analyst

• Systems developer

Jobs where a degree would be useful include

: • Geographical information systems officer

• IT sales professional

• IT trainer

• Secondary school teacher

• Technical author

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Broadgreen International School directly.

Last updated date: 02 September 2016

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