Computer Science

The field of Computer Science is an exciting world of constantly evolving technologies that impact all of us in our daily lives.  This is, of course, set to continue as we increasingly use the online environment for employment, entertainment, communication and participation.

The programmers, hardware engineers, database managers, media designers are the people who we rely on to keep our online world turning.  There is an increasing global demand for skilled IT / Computer Science people: a rewarding career awaits those with the right skills and qualifications.

The AS and A Level in Computer Science is a challenging, modern qualification that will equip you with the skills and knowledge to enter the Computing profession. Key features of this course include:

  • emphasis on problem solving using computers
  • emphasis on computer programming and algorithms
  • emphasis on the mathematical skills used to express computational laws and processes, e.g. Boolean algebra/logic and comparison of the complexity of algorithms

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The course comprises of the following units:

AS Level

COMPUTING PRINCIPLES (01) – 1.25 hour written paper, 50% of AS Level.

This component will introduce students to the internal workings of the Central Processing Unit (CPU), the exchange of data and will also look at software development, data types and legal and ethical issues. It is expected that students will draw on this underpinning content when studying computational thinking and developing programming techniques. Students will be expected to apply the criteria, in different contexts including current and future uses of the technologies.

ALGORITHMS AND PROBLEM SOLVING (02) – 1.25 hour written paper, 50% of AS Level.

This component will incorporate and build on the knowledge and understanding gained in the Computing principles component (01). In addition, students should:

  • understand what is meant by computational thinking
  • understand the benefits of applying computational thinking to solving problems
  • be able to use algorithms to describe problems.

A Level

COMPUTER SYSTEMS (01) – 2.5 hour written paper, 40% of A Level.

This component will introduce students to the internal workings of the Central Processing Unit (CPU), the exchange of data and will also look at software development, data types and legal and ethical issues. It is expected that students will draw on this underpinning content when studying computational thinking, developing programming techniques and devising their own programming approach in the Programming project component (03 or 04). Students will be expected to apply the criteria below in different contexts including current and future uses of the technologies.

ALGORITHMS AND PROGRAMMING (02) – 2.5 hour written paper, 40% of A Level.

This component will incorporate and build on the knowledge and understanding gained in the Computer systems component (01).

In addition, students should:

  • understand what is meant by computational thinking
  • understand the benefits of applying computational thinking to solving a wide variety of problems
  • understand the principles of solving problems by computational methods
  • be able to use algorithms to describe problems
  • be able to analyse a problem by identifying its component parts.

PROGRAMMING PROJECT (03/04) – Non-Exam Assessment, 20% of A Level.

Students will be expected to analyse, design, develop, test, evaluate and document a program written in a suitable programming language. The underlying approach to the project is to apply the principles of computational thinking to a practical coding problem. Students are expected to apply appropriate principles from an agile development approach to the project development. While the project assessment criteria are organised into specific categories, it is anticipated the final report will document the agile development process and elements for each of the assessment categories will appear throughout the report.