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Computer Science: A-level

Qualification: A-level

Exam Board: OCR

Entry Requirements: Grade 5 or above in GCSE Computer Science and Grade 5 or above in Maths.

 

Look at the natural world through a digital prism

Computer Science is a practical subject where students can apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real world systems. It is an intensely creative subject that combines invention and excitement, and can look at the natural world through a digital prism. The course values computational thinking, helping students to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence.

 

The course

The aims of this qualification are to enable students to develop:

  • An understanding of and ability to apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science including: abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation.
  • The ability to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems including writing programs to do so.
  • The capacity for thinking creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically.
  • The capacity to see relationships between different aspects of computer science.
  • Mathematical skills.
  • The ability to articulate the individual (moral), social (ethical), legal and cultural opportunities and risks of digital technology.

The content of the course is divided into three components:

  • Computer systems component (01) contains the majority of the content of the specification and is assessed in a written paper recalling knowledge and understanding.
  • Algorithms and programming component (02) relates principally to problem solving skills needed by students to apply the knowledge and understanding encountered in Component 01.
  • Programming project component (03 or 04) is a practical portfolio based assessment with a task that is chosen by the teacher or student and is produced in an appropriate programming language of the students or teacher’s choice.

Mathematical skills are embedded throughout the content of the three components. They will be assessed in the written papers and through the non-examined assessment where appropriate.

 

Beyond the classroom

Our Computer Science department has friendly, supportive staff who run extra-curricular activities such as Coding Club and the Digital Ambassadors scheme. We are also constantly developing links with local businesses.

 

Progression

The course enables students to progress to higher study at university or to progress directly to employment. The course is suitable for students intending to pursue any career in which an understanding of technology is needed. The qualification is also suitable for any further study as part of a course of general education.