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Computer Science A level at St Peter's RC High School & Sixth Form Centre

Course description

This course builds on GCSE computer science. Computation thinking is at the core of Computer Science, helping you to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand human and machine intelligence. This course has a strong focus on programming and an increased level of mathematical content. Experience of any dialect of Visual Basic will give you a distinct advantage. This course will allow you to apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real world systems in an exciting and engaging manner. Indeed, this course will above all else be relevant to the modern and changing world of computing. This course will also give you a clear progression into higher education, as it was designed after consultation with members of BCS, CAS and top universities.

Course content

This A Level is divided into three components:

Computer Systems covers the structure and function of the processor; types of processor; input, output and storage; operating systems; applications generation; software development; types of programming language; compression, encryption and hashing; databases; networks; web technologies; data structures; Boolean algebra; computing related legislation; ethical, moral and cultural issues.

This component is assessed by a 2.5 hour written examination and counts for 40% of the A Level.

Algorithms and Programming covers computational thinking (procedural, logical and concurrent); programming techniques including: sequence, iteration, branching, recursion, global and local variables, modularity, functions and procedures, parameter passing by value and by reference; IDE debugging tools; object oriented programming techniques; methods to determine the efficiency of different algorithms; Big O notation (constant, linear, polynomial, exponential and logarithmic complexity); algorithms for data structures including: stacks, queues, trees, linked lists, depth-first and breadth-first traversal of trees. Standard algorithms including: bubble sort, insertion sort, merge sort, quick sort, Dijkstra’s shortest path algorithm, A* path finding algorithm, binary search and linear search. All high level programming techniques are exemplified in Visual Basic.NET.

This component is assessed by a 2.5 hour written examination and counts for 40% of the A Level.

In the programming project you will analyse, design, develop, test, evaluate and document an application written in VB.NET. You will apply the principles of computational thinking to a practical coding problem. You will be expected to apply appropriate principles from an agile development approach to the project development.

This component counts for 20% of the A Level.

Entry requirements

The general requirement to enter St Peter's Sixth Form to study 3 A levels, is 5 GCSEs at grade C / level 4 or above including English and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications will be taken into account.

Required for this course:

B in Computing and 5 in English Language.

Future opportunities

Computing is an essential choice for those wishing to enter into employment in a computing related field or those considering further study in the field of computer science.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Peter's RC High School & Sixth Form Centre directly.

Last updated date: 04 January 2017
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