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Computing

What are the aims of the course?
This course is suitable for students who have a keen interest in computers and who want to know more about how they work. It aims to encourage computational thinking and problem solving skills through the use of computer programming.

AS Modules
Unit 1: Problem Solving, Programming, Data Representation and Practical Exercise
60% of the total AS marks / 30% of the total A-level marks

This is assessed by means of a 2 hour on-screen examination. You will be required to answer questions and write computer code based on a skeleton program you will receive about 1 month prior to the exam.

This module covers:

  • Fundamentals of Problem Solving
  • Fundamentals of Programming
  • Fundamentals of Data Representation
  • Systems Development Life Cycle

Unit 2: Computer Components, The Stored Program Concept and The Internet
40% of the total AS marks / 20% of the total A-level marks

This is assessed by means of a 1 hour short-answer written examination.

This module covers:

  • Fundamentals of Computer Systems
  • Fundamental Hardware Elements of Computers
  • Machine Level Architecture
  • Hardware Devices
  • The Structure of the Internet
  • Web page design
  • Consequences of Uses of Computing

A2 Modules
Unit 3: Problem Solving, Programming, Operating Systems, Databases and Networking
60% of the total A2 marks / 30% of the total A-level marks

This is assessed by means of a 2½ hour short and extended answer written examination

This module covers:

  • Problem Solving
  • Programming Concepts
  • Real Numbers
  • Operating Systems
  • Databases
  • Communication and Networking
  • Networks

Unit 4 : The Computing Practical Project
40% of the total A2 marks / 20% of the total A-level marks

This module is internally assessed and externally moderated. Candidates will be required to document the stages of a programmed solution to a real problem associated with a user whose realistic needs should be taken into account when specifying, designing and implementing the solution.

This module covers:

  • Systems Development, incorporating Analysis, Design, Implementation, Testing, Training, Maintenance and Evaluation

Are there any specific entry requirements?
To study COMPUTING you need have no formal qualification in the subject, but due to the high proportion of computational thinking, this course is better suited to those students with a strong mathematical/scientific background.

Why is it a useful qualification?
The course is not about learning to use tools or just training in a programming language. Instead the emphasis is on computational thinking. Computational thinking is a kind of reasoning used both by humans and machines. Thinking computationally is an important life skill. Thinking computationally means using abstraction and decomposition. The study of computation is about what can be computed and how to compute it. Computer Science involves questions that have the potential to change how we view the world. For example, we may be computing with DNA at some stage in the future with computer circuits made of genes. This leads to the question does the natural world ’compute’?

Experimental Computer Science can be done with computers where we can learn more about the natural world by observing the emergent behaviour of a colony of interacting software agents in a simulation. Computing/Computer Science is about designing new algorithms to solve new problems. In this sense Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes. Many great challenges lie in the future for Computer Scientists to solve. This course, with its emphasis on abstract thinking, general problem solving, algorithmic and mathematical reasoning, scientific and engineering-based thinking, is a good foundation for understanding these future challenges.

  • The Prince's Teaching Institute Leadership 2018
  • Ofsted Outstanding
  • PTI 18-19
  • Gold Science Mark