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Inside the GCSE Computing qualification

The qualifications from OCR, AQA and Edexcel have many similarities. Let's start with the OCR qualification and then look at the differences from AQA and Edexcel.


OCR GCSE Computer Science

Specification code J277 for first teaching from September 2020 and first assessment in 2022

Contents
  1. Key concepts related to the use of computer hardware. Students will learn about boolean logic that makes digital data possible and the essential parts inside a computer.
  2. Key concepts and steps related to software programming. Students will learn about how to think about a problem in order to find a solution that can be implemented with software. This problem solving approach is readily transferable to a wide number of areas outside of software programmming. The software of choice for assessment is Python.
  3. Discussion of key issues related to the use of technology in the wider society, with emphasis on data privacy and online security.
Assessment

There are 2 written exams. Each exam duration is 1 hour 30 minutes and each contributes 50% towards the final mark. Both exams are non-calculator papers.

  1. Written paper 1 has a mix of multiple choice, short response and extended response questions. All questions are mandatory. The exam will assess:
    • Systems architecture
    • Memory and storage
    • Computer networks
    • Network security
    • Systems software
    • Ethical and cultural impact of digital technology
  2. Written paper 2 (J277/02) has sections A and B. Both sections are mandatory. Section B requires the use of a programming language. The exam will assess:
    • Algorithms
    • Programming
    • Boolean logic

The assessment does not include a practical project. However, students are required to write software throughout the course in order to provide evidence of practical practice.

Source website

ocr.org.uk/j277


AQA GCSE Computer Science

Specification code 8525 for first teaching from September 2020 and first assessment in 2022

Contents

Similar to OCR.

Assessment

Similar to OCR, there are 2 written exams and each exam contributes 50% towards the final mark. Both exams are non-calculator papers.

  1. Written paper 1 has a mix of multiple choice, short response and extended response questions. The exam duration is 2 hours and it will assess:
    • Algorithms
    • Programming
    • Boolean logic
  2. Written paper 2 has a mix of multiple choice, short response and extended response questions. The exam duration is 1 hour 45 minutes and it will assess:
    • Computer systems
    • Data representation
    • Computer networks
    • Cyber security
    • SQL programming (different than OCR and Edexcel)
    • Ethical and cultural impact of digital technology

Similar to OCR, the assessment does not include a practical project. However, students are required to write software throughout the course in order to provide evidence of practical practice.

Source website

aqa.org.uk/8525


Pearson Edexcel GCSE Computer Science

Specification code 1CP2 for first teaching from September 2020 and first assessment in 2022

Contents

Similar to OCR.

Assessment

Similar to OCR, there is 1 written exam and 1 onscreen exam (different than OCR and AQA). Each exam contributes 50% towards the final mark. Both exams are non-calculator papers.

  1. Written paper 1 has a mix of multiple choice, short response and extended response questions. The exam duration is 1 hour 30 minutes and it will assess:
    • Algorithms
    • Data representation
    • Computer systems
    • Computer networks
    • Ethical and cultural impact of digital technology
  2. Onscreen paper 2 requires students to answer questions onscreen using Python. The exam duration is 2 hours and it will assess:
    • Algorithms
    • Programming

Similar to OCR, the assessment does not include a practical project. However, students are required to write software throughout the course in order to provide evidence of practical practice.

Source website

qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/computer-science-2020.html