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A-level ICT: Which board which course and why?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by em831, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. Hi all,

    there is currently no ICT A-Level at my school and I am keen to start one. Can you please give me any tips or suggestions of which board and course you would recommend?

    Thank you

  2. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    Applied ICT from EdExcel. 6 units not 4. 4 units are assessed as ePortfolios, 2 are assessed as practical exams.
    Year 12:
    • Unit 1 - The Information Age - multimedia eportfolio on ICT as it is used TODAY.
    • Unit 2 - Digitial Economy - analysis of an online merchant's website
    • Unit 3 - Knowledge Worker - spreadsheet based exam.
    Year 13:
    • Unit 7 - Database Exam - 10 hours over 3 weeks.
    • Unit 8 - Project Management. ePortfolio showing how they have managed a project
    • Unit 10 - MultiMedia Product - create product for real end user. There are other options for this.
    Units are sufficiently stretching but also accessible for lower ability.
    Downside is that it "runs out" in 2 years, last exam in 2013.

  3. We have over the past years run quite a few GCE ICT and GCE Applied ICT courses from different boards. To say that we didn't like any of them is an understatement.
    However IMHO the AQA GCE Computing and the Edexcel Level 3 BTEC IT suite are two shiny coins in the wishing well of KS5 courses.
  4. clickschool

    clickschool New commenter

    I've taught some units from Ed Excel Applied for about a year. I remember students enjoying doing the multimedia unit and also
    liked the challenge of the database unit (despite it being somewhat
    tricky). I only had about half-a-dozen students. I'm now in my third year of teaching OCR Applied ICT (single) with groups of around 20 students, which is somewhat mad considering all the coursework.
    OCR is all c/w except unit 2.
    AS Unit 1 - Using ICT To Communicate. Drafting and creating a bunch of documents. A little long-winded and probably the worst of the 3 units because of this.
    Unit 2 - How Organisations Use ICT (externally assessed - part c/w, part exam). Reasonably interesting, but the exam is highly coupled to the coursework book. Provided students revise and practice, it's possible to get good marks. The unit is about how organisations communicate internally with help from ICT, a little about the impact of IT on working practice and also some legislation.
    Unit 3 - ICT Solutions for Individuals & Society - I've based this around planning a GAP year. This involves using search engines, internal searches, fairly basic spreadsheet, local database queries and report writing. There's also an additional task on the impact of ICT on society.
    A2 - there are various options for the units...
    Unit 14 - developing a web site. Enough said. It only need be 4 pages.
    Unit 9 - managing a project (exam board set brief) - Gantt charts, project log, evaluations, current working practice report. This unit has to be coupled with another unit (e.g. web sites, spreadsheets, publishing)
    Unit 12 - developing a publication (sketch, master pages, negotiating with client etc)
    We used to do the spreadsheet unit but it was beyond most students (and some staff too, and dare I say, some of the examiners)...I felt I was giving too much support to students.
    It can take some time to figure out exactly what the examiners are looking for and students need to stick rigidly to this. The course is fine, but I can't help feeling slightly bored with it. Those students who are good at motivating themselves and using initiative do well.
    Would I recommend it? It's not a bad course but I'd like to look at the WJEC course judging by the comments here. If you do other c/w heavy courses for KS4, then consider your workload. Also consider your group size - if it's possible to have small groups, then it's great supporting students to develop their own individual projects.
  5. Back in 2001-2 we did AQA and eventually got fed up of the unpredictable moderation of coursework. (taught and marked the same every year with same teachers, one year no change in marks, the next year - two grades off.)
    We switched to WJEC before the curriculum changes in 2008-9 and it was magic - because there were two practical units.
    SInce 2008, WJEC is now 60% theory and 40% practical. Our results have got steadily worse, and our feelings about WJEC have slowly declined. The average score on the AS exam last year was a low E. This is surely the sign of a flawed specification?
    So I am watching this thread with interest!

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