"To me, mathematics, computer science, and the arts are insanely related. They're all creative expressions." Sebastian Thrun
|Mr Hansen, Mr Hornus|
|Entry Requirements: Grade 6 in GCSE Computing or equivalent|
You will need to have a keen interest in problem-solving, an ability in mathematics and a fair amount of resilience to learn computer programming in Java as well as the study of the theoretical aspects of computer science.
Computer science will help you develop:
- an understanding of, and the 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, solving problems through practical experience and 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.
In Year 12, you learn about the fundamentals of the computer itself, studying binary notation, data representation, and logical operators with logic circuits and storage, before looking at how processors work.
We go on to cover theoretical component one of the course, entitled ‘Computer Architecture, Data, Communication and Application’.
For component two, we teach you about coding and the tools for program development, such as flowcharts and pseudocode, while gradually immersing you in Java programming language and Object Oriented Programming (OOP).
Course delivery means that topics are returned to repeatedly throughout the course with exercises and problems set to enable subject matter and skills to enter long-term memory. Constant practice is an essential part of learning how to apply concepts and to program effectively. To this end, a long-term programming project starts in the spring of Year 12 and continues into Year 13 to help students to create a thorough solution for a computer-based problem that they identify themselves.
Year 13 sees a consolidation of skills and knowledge gathered in Year 12. It also sees the continuation and conclusion of the individual programming project started in Year 12.
This project requires a written report that describes the problem, the design and testing of the solution, and fully commented code, which accounts for a fifth of the A-level grade.
The remainder of the qualification is examined for both components one and two to cover all theoretical and problem-solving aspects of the course.
Computers and computer systems are ubiquitous. Society depends on computers and because the field is fast-paced, there will always be a need for skilled people who know how computers work, are fast learners and adaptable. This course goes some way towards building the foundation for those skills. It is a creative subject as well as being analytical in nature.