Computer Science

A Level Computer Science encourages students to develop the broad range of knowledge, understanding and skills needed to progress to higher education or the workplace. This is a technical subject; you will need mathematical ability, a logical mind and a genuine interest in how computers work. You will learn to design and code C# computer programs; this is a creative activity, satisfying when successful, which requires resilience.

Subject content

Students will develop:
• An understanding of the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science
• The ability to analyse and solve problems, including by writing original program code
• The capacity for thinking creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
• Mathematical skills in Boolean algebra, complex algorithms and data representation
• An awareness of the moral, social, legal and cultural consequences of digital technology

Please click on the link below to view AQA  course specifications;

http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/computing/specifications/AQA-7516-7517-SP-2015.PDF

Specific entry requirements

GCSE Grade 5 or above in Mathematics is essential. There will also be an induction test for programming aptitude. It is recommended that  A Level Computer Science is taken alongside other science subjects and/or Mathematics. GCSE Computer Science is not compulsory, but experience of
coding is very helpful, especially for non-science students.

Equipment/additional costs

USB flash/external hard drive/cloud storage required. Trip to the National Museum of Computing (approximately £30) trip to Gadget Show Live at NEC (approximately £30)

Learning methods

You will be taught using a variety of methods, including presentations, lectures and group work. There will be  regular programming sessions where you will learn and practice independent coding skills. Weekly assessments include worksheets and online quizzes.

Assessment

Students are taught using a variety of methods, including presentations, lectures and group work.  Regular programming sessions enable students to learn and practice independent coding skills.  Weekly assessments, written and online, include worksheets and quizzes.

At the end of the course, there are 2 formal examinations:

  • Paper1 – practical – on-screen programming

Tests a student’s ability to write code, as well as theoretical knowledge, covering: Fundamentals of programming, data structures, algorithms and computation theory.

Paper 2

  • Paper2 – theory – written

Tests a student’s ability to answer questions covering:

Data representation, computer systems, architecture, effects of use of computers, communication and networking, databases, Big Data and functional programming.

  • Non-exam assessment – coursework

During the 2nd year, students will produce an individual project which demonstrates their problem-solving and programming ability.  They will use the knowledge and skills gained throughout the course to create a solution to a practical problem.  Students will work independently on a problem of interest over an extended period and present their results as a programmed solution and accompanying formal technical report.

Progression opportunities

Computer Science will prepare a student for a range of specialist degrees including Computing and Software Engineering. Computer Science also provides transferable skills for a range of other scientific and technical subjects. Careers include: Network Administrator, Database Analyst/Designer, Website Developer, Technical Support, and Programmer.