Computer Science

Computer Science


A Level

Computer Science focuses on programming and emphasises the importance of computational thinking as a discipline. This course will enable you to apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms and data representation.

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The most important aspect of computer science is problem solving, an essential skill for life. Expertise in computing enables you to solve complex, challenging problems. Problems that didn’t even exist before the computer was born. On this course you will improve your ability to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including writing programs to do so, in a variety of modern languages.

Course Content

Unit 1: Computer Systems

This component will be a traditionally marked and structured question paper with a mix of question types: short-answer, longer-answer, and levels of response mark scheme-type questions. It will cover the characteristics of contemporary systems architecture and other areas including the following:

  • Software and its development
  • Types of programming languages
  • Data types, representation and structures
  • Exchanging data and web technologies
  • Following algorithms
  • Using Boolean algebra
  • Legal, moral and ethical issues

Unit 2: Algorithms and Programming

This component will be a traditionally marked and structured question paper with two sections, both of which will include a mix of question types: short-answer, longer-answer, and levels of response mark-scheme-type questions.

Section A

  • Traditional questions concerning computational thinking
  • Elements of computational thinking
  • Programming and problem solving
  • Pattern recognition, abstraction and decomposition
  • Algorithm design and efficiency
  • Standard algorithms

Section B 

There’ll be a scenario/task contained in the paper, which could be an algorithm or a text page-based task, which will involve problem solving.

Unit 3: Programming Project

  • External postal moderation or repository
  • Students and/or centres select their own user-driven problem of an appropriate size and complexity to solve
  • This will enable them to demonstrate the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the Assessment Objectives you will need to analyse the problem, design a solution, implement the solution and give a thorough evaluation

(Exam board: OCR)
(Specification code: H446)

How it is Taught

A Level Computer Science focuses on programming, building on GCSE Computing and emphasise the importance of computational thinking as a discipline. It also focuses on maths, much of which will be embedded within the course. It puts computational thinking at its core, helping you to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand human and machine intelligence. You apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real world systems in an exciting and engaging manner.

Lessons and homework contain a combination of theory and practical work. Unlike IT, the majority of the assessment for this course is examinations (80% written exams and 20% coursework) although the balance between practical and theory in the classroom will be roughly 50/50. The computing room has been designed and equipped specifically to teach Computer Science in a flexible way, using mobile technologies including laptops, tablets and is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) capable.

Assessment Information

Module 1: Written Paper (140 marks), 2hour 30mins, 40% of the overall grade

Module 2: Written Paper (140 marks), 2hour 30mins, 40% of the overall grade

Module 3: Coursework (70 marks), 20% of the overall grade

Entry Requirements

You must have at least a grade 6 in GCSE Maths and a grade 5 in GCSE English. Students should have ideally studied GCSE Computer Science and gained a grade 6. Students who have not studied GCSE Computer Science or who have not achieved these grades should speak to subject staff.

In this subject, particular skills and aptitudes will be required, many of which will be demonstrated by students’ GCSE profiles.

Students will also need to meet the general College entry requirements. Entry requirements are subjects to change.

Careers & HE Information

Useful Subject Combinations

A Level Maths or Physics

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