Every pupil should understand that computational ideas transfer into other disciplines. Like numeracy and literacy there is a challenging, cognitive strand of computing that offers valuable thinking and problem solving skills to learners (e.g. algorithms, logic, abstraction).
Students are taught to explore new ideas and are encouraged to also consider abstract problems alongside those that can be modelled by real-life situations. Students will need to use the key learning skills of independence and resilience in order to become analytical thinkers.
Vocabulary (Tier 2 & 3)
Knowledge Organisers are used for important key words and ideas in Computing. These allow an easy way to begin to learn and reference the required vocabulary and knowledge of Computing. Subject specific terms such as algorithm, decomposition, syntax, iteration are learnt. Regular tests on the keywords are carried out using short, custom built, online tests at the start of lessons. Research shows that students learn more effectively through these regular opportunities to recall and attempt to apply their knowledge.
Computational Thinking overlaps a lot with the way mathematicians think. Both are ultimately about solving problems. Computer Science focusses a lot more on the idea of algorithms as solutions as well as the importance of logic. Computer Scientists rely on maths a lot, and increasingly mathematicians are relying on computational thinking. Algorithms are now being used to prove unsolved mathematical problems that human mathematicians have struggled with for years.
Links with other subjects
Computer Science is an ideal STEM discipline, sharing attributes with Engineering, Mathematics, Science, and Technology. It has its own mathematical foundations in binary and hexadecimal. It welcomes a scientific approach to measurement and experiment. It involves the design, construction, and testing of digital products. It requires the understanding and use of a wide range of technologies.
In schools pupils are using computer software, devices, models, activities, skills and knowledge more than ever to progress their learning in all other subjects.
Assessment in Computing
Key Stage 3 (Years 8 and 9)
Students take 6 nationally recognised baseline tests throughout Key Stage 3. These tests take place at the start, middle and end of each academic year and track the progress of different students, classes and year groups.
Regular tests on keywords are carried out using short, custom built, online tests at the start of lessons. Summative assessments also take place at the end of each unit. Students are then provided with lesson time to take up the teacher feedback they have received and advance and improve their learning.
Key Stage 4 (Years 10 &11)
The course comprises of students completing 3 components which can be split into 8 assignments. One assignment involves students building a portfolio of the skills and techniques they learn and use in workshop style lessons. Assessment and feedback of their performance in these workshops is given as they progress.
For all the other assignments students undergo a mock assignment before attempting the actual assignment. This allows their mock performance to be assessed and fed back to them, allowing them to further develop their knowledge, skills and strategy for the actual assignment.
Key Stage 5 (Years 12 & 13)
In Unit 1, which involves a written exam, students complete and receive instant feedback from online tests at the end of each lesson. Written assessments take place at the end of each of the 6 topics and a full mock exam takes place before students sit the actual exam.
In other units students are assessed at regular and appropriate intervals so that interventions can be put in place as soon as possible. For instance, in the data handling unit it is difficult for a student to progress any further until they understand the principles of the normalisation of data.