Computing Plus

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One of the Year 9 Option Choices that is started in Year 10.

The Old Year 10 Way

In Year 10 students finished off their IT GCSE which they started in Year 9. In this, for the controlled assessment, pupils made a working system like in Year 9, but must this time presented it to a real business that had not yet immersed itself in the world of Information (Communication) Technology. There was then a test around Easter.

The New Year 10 Way

As of September 2011, students must now complete a Computing GCSE, rather than finish their IT GCSE from Year 9. Because of this, the number of GCSEs earnt through computers has increased from 1 (I.T.) to 1.5 (1 Computing and 0.5 I.T.), as the entire Computing GCSE is done in one year - unlike with all other subjects which spend two years on each GCSE. AS Level Computing covers all of the topics in GCSE Computing, but in more depth and with a few more areas.

Year 11

Towards the end of Year 10 and in Year 11, students will start their A-Level in Computing by completing the AS section. First they must learn for a test in January in Year 11. For this test they will need to know about the insides of a computer, how it works, about logic gates, how the internet works (including a small bit of HTML, most of it being cascading stylesheets A.K.A. CSS), different generations of programming languages and lots of acronyms. Seriously, you'd have to be a savant to remember them all: RAM; CPU; CIR; CD ROM; DVD ROM; VDU; CSS; HTML; HTTP; FTP; DNS; etc. After this test there will be another at the end of the year which will be done on a computer. Basically, it is a program someone has writen in Turbo (A.K.A. Borland) Pascal and pupils are supposed to correct it and make improvements, so that it has a good programming style (explanation notes, use/ordering of procedure, functions and the main program appropriately, following the syntax strictly, etc.), good structure (double-spaced indentation), a shorter runtime (less iteration/code) and no compilation, runtime or logic errors. Examples of deliberate mistakes are that semicolons may be missed out, a variable may need to be defined and things may be slightly out of position or in the wrong order (note: pupils will edit the program code in the Delphi program and can use the software's hints and help options). So from the January exam onwards most of the curriculum will be learning Turbo Pascal.

More Recently

The government is saying that the country's education in computers is primitive and that not enough is taught about programming. Therefore, it is planned that the current IT curriculum is scrapped and replaced with one that teaches the fundamentals of programming, a subject presently not even touched upon in I.T., but only in Computing. This idea might also affect Computing, and it probably will, as Computing would be too closely related to I.T. and would be too easy for students who had been learning relevant things for years before the AS.