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Choosing an appropriate new exam board for GCSE ICT 2010.

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by sidetrack, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. <font size="2">Hi! I am a new HOD of ICT and we are currently with ICAA GCSE ICT (Full Course). This has worked well for our student in the past. However, the ICAA new spec still has not been approved and I have been exploring other exams boards. I have been on Edexcel, OCR and AQA courses introducing the changes for their new GCSE ICT for Sept 2010. I am currently sat comparing them all and I still not sure which one to go with. Other schools are teaching OCR Nationals we tried this last year without much success. The AQA seemed most organised and clear about what to cover and how to cover it. They seemed very strict about controlled assessment saying students need separate usernames and log ons. The questions in the exam paper seemed difficult to get higher than a C grade with focus on written communication skills to get the higher marks. The general feedback about AQA was positive. The example work on spreadsheets with VLOOKUP for task 2 seemed more complex than that required for ICAA. OCR GCSE J461 sounded good and the 'best fit' criteria sounded good. However, the submission of work sounds a pain - we were told in the training that schools can submit 'paper-based work' but this can be a mixture of CD-ROM and paper-based resources. There seems to be a lot to cover for the units. CA rules seem more relaxed. Not much help in terms of SOW and additional resources unlike AQA and Edexcel. General feedback about this GCSE was not so good - 'disorganised', 'lack of feedback', 'poor communication'. Is this true?Edexcel resources look all singing and dancing but we came away from the training not much further forward in understanding the spec and course. However, saying that I telephoned the help line and was put through to the IT specialist straight away and he was extremely helpful. The controlled assessment is one 40 hrs instead of two 25 hrs. They need to complete one CAB plus written exam to gain GCSE to gain single award GCSE. There seems to be less focus on written answers &ndash; cannot add marks for quality of English and cannot take them out of a mark band. The online CAB looks good and well organised. When re-taking the CAB they can re-do the same task if available! I have also been informed that there are free resources for teaching unit 1 and the unit 2 resources will be available and free in the near future. Feedback from others is that Edexcel not very good to work with! Is this true? My experience today was the opposite. Looking at the spec it seems that the content is a good grounding for the OCR Applied ICT AS Level. I would be very grateful of other people's thoughts and advice.......
  2. Gosh. Are you my HOD? No ... he's been here a few years now. But otherwise. Same choice as us. We went OCR. They are really helpful when you get them alone and speak to them. The course textbook will be out soon (and the teacher pack), even cheaper if you buy it from Amazon!
    We liked the option to do games for the 2nd bit of coursework. We liked the sensible guidelines for the CA.
    AQA was far too cerebral for our lot in the exams. Edexcel? They never seem to change. Didn't like the course (too boring) either.
  3. Hi - what exam board did you decide to go with? I am in the same position to introduce GCSE ICT from this September. I have looked at all three exam boards that you mentioned and am not sure! I am leaning towards Edexcel, but I have heard that they are not good to work with! Any advice would be welcomed...
  4. Recent contact with Ann Weidmann clearly shows Edexcel are writing a 'new GCSE in ICT' to try and fit in with EBacc. It won't contain ICT and it won't contain Applied - as Ann stated, Universities tend not to like 'Applied' subjects. Or ICT.
  5. jazz2

    jazz2 New commenter

    How does that work, then?? A GCSE in ICT that doesn't contain ICT?! And how would it fit in with the EBacc anyway - unless it's a completely different subject (like History, or MFL)?
  6. The name won't contain "ICT". I suggest you ask Ann Weidmann, who poineered AiDA/CiDA/DiDA and the Applied subjects in ICT for Edexcel. Just passing on the info. I know OCR are piloting a GCSE in Computing, hoping it will fit in with theEBacc - under Science, as in Computer Science. Maybe Ann's thinking along those lines. Ask her, don't shoot the messenger! Those of us old enough to remember, ICT was borne out of Computing. Re-modelled to suit non-specialists. Currently 'Office Products'.

  7. Hi Gavcrad, I would be happy to support any centre planning to deliver GCSE ICT. I can inform on the merits of our GCSE and they are then free to make a decision.
    I would also be happy to discuss with you any problems you have had with Edexcel in the past. Perhaps there is some way we can support you again in the future.
    We do publish exam and moderation dates online and further details are sent to exams officers in the Edexcel Manual published each year. If we wrongly informed you of a moderation date it would be incorrect for you to be penalised for a late submission.
    Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you further.
  8. We are indeed exploring the possibility of developing a new GCSE and GCE route to university/employment to complement our existing qualifications in ICT. We haven't decided on a title yet; we're still at the stage of scoping out the content. If you're interested in getting involved please get in touch: ann.weidmann@edexcel.com.

  9. I'd be interested in seeing how Edexcel will approach a new style ICT GCSE course in light of government feeling of ICT courses in general. Ann, I'll be sending you an e-mail when we're back in school..
    I think we all agree a new course has to be:
    • Interesting
    • Relevant
    • Challenging but achievable A*-C grades
    • Not Office Studies, but incorporating office skills in a wider context
    80% coursework with 20% exam sounds excellent to me...
  10. For those of us who know this forum, perhaps it is worth mentioning that Gavcradd is an overinflated true-blue OCR man with a framed certificate of his 100,000th OCR National awarded hanging up above his desk. Slagging off Edexcel with personal quibbles informs nobody.
    There are clearly many vocal Edexcel bashers out there, but the same stories abound for OCR and AQA. My experiences with OCR and AQA are very bleak, but with Edexcel - never put a foot wrong and always been helpful with good service. Ask someone else and they may tell you that AQA is excellent and OCR and Edexcel lousy. Its pointless.
    Go with a board and make your own mind up.
    After spending hours poring over the detail of the new ICT GCSEs - they all have a very different flavour. The only advice can be to go with what best fits your school, your teaching styles and your learners. Its not an easy decision to make and I've worried a lot about my choice (Edexcel) but I know that their specification is a best match for the what and how I want students to learn.
  11. brush75

    brush75 New commenter

    Well I don't know about the GCSE, but it's certainly true about OCR's AS ICT, although I'd add in the comment "incompetent" as well (we've found five errors in the markscheme for the coursework so far). We're going with AQA for our GCSE next year.


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