Computer Science 

Course Description 

From Facebook to driverless cars, Computer Science is a fast paced, stimulating environment that develops pioneering technological advancements, incorporating a wide range of disciplines including mathematics, physics, programming, engineering and linguistics. It underpins the technological world we live in and will continue to revolutionise the future.

This complex and challenging A level will introduce you to the world of computational thinking. You will learn about the fundamental principles of computer systems that encompass Hardware, Software, Data and Communication. You will learn the foundations of design and implementation in programming.

A level Computer Science offers multiple pathways of study for computer related degrees. The employment prospects of students who have a degree in Computer Science are excellent in all fields. Throughout the study of A level Computer Science you will develop a wide range of organisational, problem solving, presentation and report writing skills that are applicable in a multitude of different environments.

Exam Board: OCR

Further information is available from the Computer Science specification.

The aims of this qualification are to enable learners to develop:

  • An understanding and 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 through practical experience of solving such problems, including writing programs to do so.
  • The capacity to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
  • The capacity to see relationships between different aspects of computer science
  • Mathematical skills.

Content Overview

  • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices
  • Software and software development
  • Exchanging data
  • Data types, data structures and algorithms
  • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues
  • Elements of computational thinking
  • Problem solving and programming
  • Algorithms to solve problems and standard algorithms

 Assessments

A-level Computer Science consists of 2 papers (Paper 1- Computer Systems) and (Paper 2- Algorithms and Programming). Students must answer all questions in both papers.  Students are also required to complete a Programming Project.

The information in the table below shows the weighting of the exams and the maximum marks that can be achieved from both papers.

Paper Description Length Marks Weighting
1 Computer Systems (01) (2 hours 30 minutes) 140 40%
2 Algorithms and Programming  (02) (2 hours 30 minutes) 140 40%

Programming Project (03) - Weighting (20%)

All students are expected to analyse, design, develop, test, evaluate and document a program written in a suitable programming language. The underlying approach to the project is to apply the principles of computational thinking to a practical coding problem. Learners are expected to apply appropriate principles from an agile development approach to the project development.

 

Computer Science is a practical subject where learners can apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real world systems. It is an intensely creative subject that combines invention and excitement, and can look at the natural world through a digital prism. OCR’s A Level in Computer Science will value computational thinking, helping learners to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence.

There are no longer any aspects of life that remain untouched by the developing world of IT. This course aims to provide you with the knowledge, understanding and skills to be successful in many of the fields within IT. In 13 units (4 externally assessed and 9 internally assessed) you work through a series of both theoretical and practical tasks that you could expect to face in IT-related employment. You will gain a better understanding of yourself as a learner and plan for your own development by identifying your strengths and weaknesses. You will understand how different types of organisation use IT to support their activities and will learn how to create various digital products using a range of software.

Once completed this course offers you a variety of ways forward. You can go on to degree level study, with UCAS tariffs being clearly matched to your total points from the 13 units. You could then specialise in a particular area of IT. Alternatively you could opt to enter employment knowing that you have already studied many aspects of IT. All jobs require some digital skills and knowledge, and you will be well prepared for this, whatever you choose.

Term Year 12 Year 13
Autumn 1

 

Unit 5 Data Modelling

·         A: Investigate data modelling and how it can be used in the decision-making process

·         B: Design a data model to meet client requirements               C: Develop a data model to meet client requirements

 

Unit 1 Information Technology Systems:

Written examination set and marked by Pearson.

• 90 marks.

• Two hours.

·         A1 Digital devices, their functions and use

·         A2 Peripheral devices and media

·         A3 Computer software in an IT system

·         A4 Emerging technologies

·         A5 Choosing IT systems

·         B1 Connectivity

·         B2 Networks

·         B3 Issues relating to transmission of data

·         C1 Online systems

·         C2 Online communities

 

Unit 18: Digital Animation and Effects

·         A: Investigate the purpose and characteristics of digital animations and effects that are an important part of communication

·         B: Design a digital animation and effects product to meet a client brief

·

Unit 11: Cyber security and Incident Management

A task set and marked by Pearson and completed under supervised conditions.

• The supervised assessment period is nine hours, arranged over a number of sessions in a three-week assessment period timetabled by Pearson.

• Completed using a computer and submitted electronically.

• 80 marks.

·         A1 Cyber security threats

·         A2 System vulnerabilities

·         A3 Legal responsibilities

·         A4 Physical security measures

·         A5 Software and hardware security measures

Autumn 2

 

Unit 1 Information Technology Systems:

Written examination set and marked by Pearson.

• 90 marks.

• Two hours.

·         D1 Threats to data, information and systems

·         D2 Protecting data

·         E1 Online services

·         E2 Impact on organisations

·         E3 Using and manipulating data

·         F1 Moral and ethical issues

·         F2 Legal issues

 

Unit 6: Website development

·         A Understand the principles of website development

Unit 18: Digital Animation and Effects

·         C: Develop a digital animation and effects product to meet a client brief.

 

Unit 11: Cyber security and Incident Management

 

B1 Network types

B2 Network components

B3 Networking infrastructure services and resources

C1 Assessment of computer system vulnerabilities

C2 Assessment of the risk severity for each threat

C3 A cyber security plan for a system

D1 Internal policies

D2 External service providers

E1 Forensic collection of evidence

E2 Systematic forensic analysis of a suspect system

 

Mock test

Spring 1

 

Unit 6: Website development

·         B Design a website to meet client requirements

·         C Develop a website to meet client requirements

 

Unit 2 Creating Information systems

A task set and marked by Pearson and completed under supervised conditions.

• The supervised assessment period is ten hours, arranged over a number of sessions in a one-week assessment period timetabled by Pearson.

• Completed using a computer and submitted electronically.

• 66 marks.

·         A1 Relational database management systems

·         A2 Manipulating data structures and data in relational databases

·         A3 Normalisation

·         B1 Relational database design

·         B2 Design documentation

 

Unit 9: IT Project Management

·         A: Investigate the principles and methodologies of IT project management as used in industry

 

Unit 4: Programming

A: Examine the computational thinking skills and principles of computer programming

 

Unit 14: IT Service Delivery

• A task set and marked by Pearson and completed under supervised conditions.

• The supervised assessment period is eight hours, arranged over a number of sessions in a three-week assessment period timetabled by Pearson.

• Completed using a computer and submitted electronically.

• 68 marks.

·         A1 IT service life cycle

·         A2 Purpose and functions of organisations

·         A3 Service identification

Spring 2

 

Unit 2 Creating Information systems

 

·         C1 Producing a database solution

·         C2 Testing and refining the database solution

·         D1 Database design evaluation

·         D2 Evaluation of database testing

·         D3 Evaluation of the database

 

Mock test for Unit 2

 

Unit 17: 2d and 3D digital graphics

·         A:Investigate the purpose and characteristics of digital graphics that are an important part of visual communications

 

Unit 14: IT Service Delivery

 

·         B1 Defining IT service delivery requirements

·         B2 Considerations when defining IT service delivery requirements B3 Designing an IT solution

·         B4 Considerations when designing an IT service delivery solution

·         C1 Information in an organisation

·         C2 Data in an organisation

·         D1 Software service options

·         D2 Hardware service options

·         D3 Managing IT service delivery solutions and the implications of change

Mock test

Summer 1

 

Unit 17: 2d and 3D digital graphics

·         B: Design 2D and 3D digital graphics products to meet a client brief

·         C: Develop 2D and 3D digital graphics products to meet a client brief.

Unit 3: Using social Media in Business

·         A : Explore the impact of social media on the ways in which businesses promote their

 

Unit 9: IT Project Management

·         B Carry out a project initiation for an IT project

·         C Carry out the planning, execution, monitoring and controlling of an IT project, using an

·         appropriate methodology

·         D Undertake the closure of a project by reflecting on the success of personal performance and the project outcome.

 

Unit 4: Programming

·         B Design a software solution to meet client requirements

·         C Develop a software solution to meet client requirements.

 

Summer 2

 

Unit 3: Using social Media in Business

·         B:Develop a plan to use social media in a business to meet requirements

·         C:  Implement the use of social media in a business.

 

Unit 19: The Internet of Things

·         A: Examine systems and services that form part of the Internet of Things

·         B: Develop a design for an Internet of Things system or device to solve a problem

·         C: Carry out the prototyping of an integrated Internet of Things system or device to solve a problem.

N/A