Computer Science

Why study A level Computer Science?

The study of Computing is designed not just to teach and improve your skills in using computer programming languages, but also to enable you to understand the kind of reasoning used by both humans and machines.

The study of Computing demands both logical discipline and imaginative creativity in the selection and design of algorithms and the writing, testing and debugging of programs. It relies on an understanding of the rules of language at a simple level and encourages an awareness of the management and organisation of computer systems. It will require you to investigate and understand situations beyond the school environment and the appreciation of the effects of computer applications on society and individuals. For these reasons, computing is a relevant choice whether you are studying Arts subjects or Science subjects.

What are the careers or further education that this course be suitable for?

Computers are widely used in all aspects of government, business, industry, education, leisure and the home. In this increasingly technological age, a study of Computing, and particularly how computers are used in the solution of a variety of problems, is not only valuable to the students themselves but also essential to the future wellbeing of the country.

Studying Mathematics and/or Further Mathematics clearly works well, especially for those students who intend to go on to study Computer Science at university. Other common combinations are physics, economics or business studies. However, many other combinations are equally viable depending on your chosen career.

Key Information Summary:

Course Title Computer Science
Examination Board AQA
Linear Qualification? Yes
Course Webpage http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/ict-and-computer-science/as-and-a-level/computer-science-7516-7517
Entry Requirements Grade 6 in a GCSE mathematics.
Contact Teachers Mr. D Allcock: dallcock@wilmslowhigh.com

Course Details:

AQA computer science is a linear course with terminal examinations at the end of the two year course.

Subject Content:

Computer Science is taught through a wide range of topics:

Programming: Programming, procedural programming and programming paradigms.

Data structures: Data structures and abstract data types, queues, stacks, graphs, trees, hash tables, dictionaries and vectors.

Algorithms: Graph-traversal, tree –traversal, reverse polish, searching algorithms, sorting algorithms, optimization algorithms.

Theory of computation: Abstraction and automation, finite state machines, regular languages, context-free languages, classification of algorithms and models of computation.

Data representation: Number systems, number bases, units of information, binary, information coding and representing images, sound and other data.

Computer systems: Hardware and software, classification of programming languages, types of program translator, logic gates and boolean algebra.

Computer organization and architecture: Internal components of a computer, stored program concept, structure and role of the processor and external hardware devices.

Consequences of using computing: Individual, social, legal and cultural issues and opportunities.

Communication and networking: Communication, networking, the internet and protocols.

Databases: Conceptual data models, relational databases, normalisation, SQL and client-server databases.

Big Data: The concept of big data, machine learning and functional programming.

Functional programming: Functional programming paradigms and languages.

Systematic approach to problem solving: Analysis, design, implementation, testing and evaluation.

 

Assessment details:

A Level – 2 Year Course

Paper 1 (40% of A level) 2 hour 30 minute examination completed on screen assessing: Programming, data structures, algorithms, a systematic approach to problem solvingand the theory of computation.

Paper 2 (40% of A level) 2 hour 30 minute paper assessing: Data representation, computer systems, computer organization and architecture, consequences of using computing, communication and networking, databases, big data and functional programming.

NEA (20% of A Level) A practical project completed both in lessons and personal study time designing and developing a solution to a realistic problem.