120-140 guided learning hours recommended
1.5 hour written paper (40%)
20 hours controlled assessment – investigative task (30%)
20 hours controlled assessment – programming project (30%)
A modern course for a modern world
This is a course that has real relevance in our modern world. While learners will no doubt already have some knowledge of computers and related areas, the course will give them an in-depth understanding of how computer technology works and a look at what goes on “behind the scenes”. As part of this, they will investigate computer programming, which many learners ﬁnd interesting.
The fun of computing
Through this study of computer programming, the course will help learners develop critical thinking, analysis and problem solving skills. For many, it’ll be a fun and interesting way to develop these skills, which can be transferred to other subjects and even applied in day-to-day life. In this way, the course will stimulate interest and engagement with technology and technology-related careers.
Looking to the future
In fact, information technologies continue to have a growing importance. This means there will be a bigger demand for professionals who are qualiﬁed in this area. If learners want to go on to higher study and employment in the ﬁeld of Computer Science, they will ﬁnd that this course provides a superb stepping stone. Learners who have taken a Computing GCSE and who then progress to study the subject at A Level or university will have a sound underpinning knowledge of this subject area.
Which Programming Language?
Any programming environment can be used but Unit A451 may contain questions in a generic pseudocode that looks a lot like BBC BASIC, eg BBC BASIC for WINDOWS, or PASCAL. The tasks can generally be completed in a console programming mode but many centres are choosing to use Visual Basic in one of its versions, from VB6 through SMALL BASIC, VBA to VB.net. The choice can be left to individual preferences and expertise and we have centres using a wide range of environments including Java, C (and variants) Python, Pascal/Delphi. They can all provide the basic understanding required for the theory and are all more than capable of being used to complete the tasks (all tasks have been tested in VB.net and BBC BASIC for Windows to make sure they are suitable).