Computer Science is the discipline which underpins all our interactions with computers and technology today. Computational thinking is central to this, and the AS/A2 Computing course places much emphasis on this, as well as learning how to program. Computational thinking is a kind of reasoning used by both 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’?
Course Content and Assessment A Level
Paper 1 - 40% of A Level 2 hour examination
This paper covers all of the AS Level content from Paper 1, plus additional content from the “A Level only” specification.
Paper 2 - 40% of A Level, 2 hour examination This paper covers all of the AS Level content from
Paper 2, plus additional content from the “A Level only”
elements in the specification.
Non-examined assessment - 20% of A Level A programming practical project.
What Skills Will I Learn?
Computational thinking. As mentioned above, computational thinking involves using abstraction and decomposition to break down a problem, work out what can be computed, and how to go about doing it.
Programming skills. We will learn at least one programming language throughout the course. No previous experience in programming is required, but students who have studied GCSE Computing will have an advantage here.
General problem-solving skills. Problem-solving is inherent to the course, and will be something which develops and improves as we work on the different units.
Time management skills. As with other A Level subjects, there will be various deadlines which need to be met.
Good time management skills are essential, and we will help you to plan your work and keep it manageable.
Extending Your Experience
The course will likely involve visits to external organisations and/or exhibitions in support of your coursework.
Ideally students should have achieved a grade 5 or above (or equivalent) in GCSE Computing, GCSE ICT, OCR/Cambridge Nationals, DIDA or equivalent course. Previous experience in programming is not required, but would be an advantage