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Cambridge Nationals - details

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by violetriga, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. So OCR have introduced their new course - here are the main things about it...

    The L1/L2 course is now called Cambridge Nationals and the Post-16 course is the CTEC. The latter has been developed separately to split it from the Wolf-report-conforming offering of the former.
    There are two compulsory units which form the short course. Two further optional units (from a choice of nine) will give you the full GCSE equivalent. Four more units will get you the two-GCSE version but will not count any more towards league tables.
    Unit R001 is an exam with some quite relevant and modern questions. I would describe it as "digital literacy" perhaps, with questions about file formats, password security, laws, and sensible use of applications. As this is one of the four units needed for the full GCSE equivalent it is worth 25% of the overall mark.
    Example: http://www.ocr.org.uk/download/assess_mat/ocr_64198_sam_cn_u1_assess_mat.pdf
    Unit R002 is a board-set assignment similar to the current Unit 1. Students will be asked to make use of the usual range of programs (DTP, spreadsheet, database).
    Units R003 to R010 are in categories of "business information systems", "technical", and "creative" but this is only an aesthetic grouping and any combination is valid. The units are similar to previous ones but some have been combined together. The GLH is lower than previous units and there are far fewer AOs (now LOs).
    Unit R011 is an independent project-based unit that could be used for pretty much anything. The techniques and methods of research and monitoring used by the student is the main thing to be assessed with the final outcome being essentially unimportant.
    Assessment has moved away from the tick box idea but maintains the three column grid. An overall mark out of 60 is awarded for each unit, split over the different Learning Objectives. Each LO has mark bands ranging from, for example, 1-6, 7-11, 12-15. This essentially matches the PMD idea.
    Units can be "failed" because the overall mark of all four units (out of 240) can be sufficient for a passing grade. Grade boundaries will be set after the first year of introduction when OCR have more information about submission quality. The grades range from Distinction* down to Pass with L2 and L1 combined. The marks basically equate to GCSE: Distinction*=A*, Pass=C. Below that you drop down to an L1 course: Distinction=D, Pass=C.
    There seems to have been a shift away from reviewing existing products (AO1 on many current units) and a renewed emphasis on gathering appropriate content (and stating sources).

    I think that covers just about everything. There isn't much on the site yet but it'll appear here:
    http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/type/cambridge_nationals/ict/ict/documents/
    http://www.cambridgenationals.org.uk/
     
  2. So OCR have introduced their new course - here are the main things about it...

    The L1/L2 course is now called Cambridge Nationals and the Post-16 course is the CTEC. The latter has been developed separately to split it from the Wolf-report-conforming offering of the former.
    There are two compulsory units which form the short course. Two further optional units (from a choice of nine) will give you the full GCSE equivalent. Four more units will get you the two-GCSE version but will not count any more towards league tables.
    Unit R001 is an exam with some quite relevant and modern questions. I would describe it as "digital literacy" perhaps, with questions about file formats, password security, laws, and sensible use of applications. As this is one of the four units needed for the full GCSE equivalent it is worth 25% of the overall mark.
    Example: http://www.ocr.org.uk/download/assess_mat/ocr_64198_sam_cn_u1_assess_mat.pdf
    Unit R002 is a board-set assignment similar to the current Unit 1. Students will be asked to make use of the usual range of programs (DTP, spreadsheet, database).
    Units R003 to R010 are in categories of "business information systems", "technical", and "creative" but this is only an aesthetic grouping and any combination is valid. The units are similar to previous ones but some have been combined together. The GLH is lower than previous units and there are far fewer AOs (now LOs).
    Unit R011 is an independent project-based unit that could be used for pretty much anything. The techniques and methods of research and monitoring used by the student is the main thing to be assessed with the final outcome being essentially unimportant.
    Assessment has moved away from the tick box idea but maintains the three column grid. An overall mark out of 60 is awarded for each unit, split over the different Learning Objectives. Each LO has mark bands ranging from, for example, 1-6, 7-11, 12-15. This essentially matches the PMD idea.
    Units can be "failed" because the overall mark of all four units (out of 240) can be sufficient for a passing grade. Grade boundaries will be set after the first year of introduction when OCR have more information about submission quality. The grades range from Distinction* down to Pass with L2 and L1 combined. The marks basically equate to GCSE: Distinction*=A*, Pass=C. Below that you drop down to an L1 course: Distinction=D, Pass=C.
    There seems to have been a shift away from reviewing existing products (AO1 on many current units) and a renewed emphasis on gathering appropriate content (and stating sources).

    I think that covers just about everything. There isn't much on the site yet but it'll appear here:
    http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/type/cambridge_nationals/ict/ict/documents/
    http://www.cambridgenationals.org.uk/
     
  3. That sounds pretty much the way I read that too. Without having read it fully, I'm assuming that the '10 hours' stated under many of the units and '15 hours' under the project refer to Controlled Assessment rather than the previous coursework incarnation (as has happened with the GCSEs).


    Overall I'm reasonably impressed. A good mix of options and the exam doesn't look to be a deal breaker because of the L1/L2 rules meaning you can mix an L1 score with L2 scores elsewhere to reach an L2 qualification overall.
     
  4. That's very helpful.

    Thank you.
     
  5. Thanks for the summary, when you say they will not count towards a schools league tables do you mean the 2nd GCSE or both? Can you point me to the document/web site that details this.

    Many thanks
     
  6. Khashoggi

    Khashoggi New commenter

    No course can count for more than one GCSE on the league tables even if it is worth more. We have to wait until the end of Jan though to see whether it will count at all, as that is when the government will publish the list of courses counting towards the league tables. If OCR don't meet that deadline, the lst is being updated in March.
     
  7. As I understand it (and I may well be wrong) a single qualification CAN count for 2 (hence the Diploma being offered), but only 2 vocational awards per subject can be counted against any one child.


    I have no source for this information, its all hearsay at the minute, so apologies if I'm mistaken. (Damned helpful, that government - I'm glad they think these things through and make it clear how the land lies).
     
  8. Look forward to hearing more about this, i am still unsure whether to go for Cambridge Nationals or BTEC as suggested by acting HOD (Doesnt teach ICT as Business Teacher)

    Matt
     
  9. Keith was brilliant manning the OCR stand at BETT and put forward a great case for sticking with the new Cambridge Nationals. If they get league table accreditation then it ticks the school box for SMT, but much more importantly - the CBL2 (my new acronym for it!) is actually quite interesting for pupils. We all felt programming, hardware and networks were missing from OCRL2, so I'm welcoming the new syllabus, but know we have to do some dramatic KS3 changes over the next few months to get future KS4's ready for the qualification.

    Cambridge Tech for L3 is more of an unknown quantity. Chatting with Keith it looks like some L3 areas have been condensed into U1 of CBL2 and beyond so I'll be interested to see how it looks. Tempted by CBL2 then Edexcel Applied ICT for A Level but I can be swayed!!
     
  10. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    I'm currently looking at this and a bit confused/concerned with the phrase "synoptic assessment" as my understanding is that a synoptic unit is taken at the end of a course.
    Does this imply that R001 and R002 MUST be done at end of Y11?
     
  11. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    Concerned that the specification contains lots of restrictive list telling you exactly what to cover. Why, for example, do we have to cover HTML clocks in multimedia unit?
     
  12. Don't have a copy in front of me - is that restrictive or suggestive? I know the Creative iMedia lists were meant to be suggestive (so you don't have to hit all of the bullet points, but those are the kinds of things we're talking about).
     
  13. Regarding the synoptic assessment, I read somewhere that under the new changes there would be no more entering kids in Y9 or Y10 for GCSEs and that all terminal exams would be at the end of Y11 with no resits except Maths and English. I think the source was an exam board document. The "unit 2" of the new Nationals spec comes with a scenario, presumably different each time, so perhaps that can only be taken in Y11?
     
  14. JM6699

    JM6699 New commenter

    I went to one of the presentations on Friday and I'm sure I remember hearing that the terminal rule didn't apply as it was a vocational qualifiction. In fact, they said they were actively looking at providing more exam sessions than just January and June (probably for the endles retakes!!).
     
  15. The proposed changes will not mean that controlled assessment tasks must be
    undertaken at the end of the course. Controlled assessment in many subjects
    takes place over several weeks and months. Centres will have to enter
    candidates for any controlled assessment units at the same time as they enter
    the candidates for the written papers (that is, at the end of the course) but the
    controlled assessment tasks will still be scheduled at the discretion of the centre
    (as far as this is permitted by the specification).
    Page 10 of above doc.
     
  16. tonyuk

    tonyuk Occasional commenter

    To me it looks to be a good course combining many elements of the old one but not as prescriptive so its possible to pick the software and product for the more creative units!
     
  17. LinW2010

    LinW2010 New commenter

    Surely synoptic means at the same time or covering the same material - so that's where the units overlap - the one you teach first will be harder work but the second will draw on the same knowledge so be easier. The business units introduce spreadsheets and databases but they have their own stand-alone units too. If you teach business first, they will have a head start on units 3 and 4. If you teach 3/4 first, the business elements that cover those topics will be a doddle.

     
  18. Am i missing something?
    Looking through the draft material, don't really feel very thrilled by this at all (and feel less thrilled when i look through the draft exam paper for Understanding Computer Systems).
    I'm no fan of Gove, but isn't some of this stuff (especially the mandatory units 1 - 4) going to be a bit dry and dull for the pupils?
    I was looking forward to some Computer Science revolution within ICT, now i just feel like i've gone back in time to the old GNVQ/Project 40.
    At the moment i'm really not that convinced, might even start to look to see what other boards will be offering.
     
  19. Looking through the spec I just found one very concerning section:





    "Centres must select from the model assignments provided to use to assess their learners. ... Centres may make some modifications to the model assignments that OCR provides so that the assignment can be put within a local context that learners might relate to more easily. We will give guidance on what areas of the assignment may be modified."






    Umm, so basically everything is board-set?
     
  20. It sounds very unexciting and a little bit fuzzy to me. I thought the idea was that some rigour was brought into the subject, not rigour mortis. No, this is very poor. The course will continue to attract ridicule, which helps noone.
     

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