# Choosing students for GCSE Computing (especailly girls!)

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by gavcradd, May 25, 2011.

I should perhaps point out that everyone does some form of ICT, it's compulsory for all at KS4. The problem is that we can only have one group (all A band groups are timetabled at the same time and there's only me able to teach it, my degree is Computer Science and I already teach AS/A2 Computing, the other teachers are all business trained or non-specialists). Also because of the size of the rooms and the impact it would have on the other groups, my group has got to be of a pretty specific size (somewhere between about 18 and 25 students).

Therefore, as much as I'd love to let everyone just chose what they want to do, practically, I can't. I can ask their opinions but I;m going to have to either force some people to take it who aren't keen or turn away some people who would like to do it.

What I'm asking is, what's the best way to do that? Any suggestions for particular logic puzzles?

2. ### HappyHippy

Could not disagree more. Some of the topics are common (iteration, selection, networking, binary representation of data, etc.) but at GCSE (for example) they need to know about the three main network topologies. At AS level they need to understand how the four different levels of the TCP/IP stack work as well as remembering the port numbers and purposes of TELNET, SMTP, POP3, HTTP and SSH.At GCSE they have to be able to convert denary / binary / hex positive integers. At AS we also have signed integers, fixed point binary, binary multiplication, gray codes and hamming codes. There is a very real step up from GCSE Computing to AS Computing, and then another to A2.

I do have one particular non-mathematical student who is finding the programming aspects hard, and he's probably looking at a D if he works hard. BUT it's an A* - G course. I have GCSE ICT students who are looking at a D if they work hard.

@OP: Have a look at the CS4fn and CSUnplugged for some good problem solving / algorithmic type ideas. Getting girls in... it's always going to be a challenge and I couldn't tell you the trick if I'm honest.

3. ### Blissx

I suppose the jump from Year 9 GCSE ICT to Year 10 Computing is so due to the vastly different nature of each course means that the Year 10 Computing has a lot more in common with the AS level in Computing and the fact centres are using AS Computing resources due to the severe lack of ANY resources such as a textbook means that the lines are more blurred than they are in most subject&rsquo;s leaps from GCSE to A Level. In addition, most of the theory is not covered in Years 7, 8 and 9 unlike a lot of other subjects, so my experience this year has been to witness the shock from some of the pupils who normally excel in every other subject and feel they have been thrown in at the deep end and this has upset them.

Although it would be wonderful if every pupil in the year group wanted to opt to do the GCSE Computing course, it is unrealistic to not have to consider what teachers can teach it (if there are only a few), and what space there is available. Because of this, it is highly like that not every pupil will be able to take it and like every other subject that has different entry levels for different pupil needs, it would often be unfair to some pupils where it would seem like they are being &ldquo;set up to fail&rdquo;.

4. ### A_Teacher_Of_Computing

Computing is an A*-G in rather the same way as separate Physics, Chemistry and Biology are... and most schools do not allow students who are incapable of accessing the curriculum to take these courses. I would also point out that unlike the sciences there is currently no vast body of resources to help weaker students outside of the classroom.

Several weak students signed up for the pilot course last year and despite the support on offer are incapable of accessing the subject, they would have been far better served by a vocational course that would have developed their basic skills to help them get a job on leaving school.

We have learned and have ensured that all students on the course this year have a minimum grade C potential in Maths and Science.

If my child was told they were not suitable for a course at a school I would probably commend the school for taking the far more difficult choice of putting the students needs ahead of their wants. I understand it may hurt their feelings now but this does mean that they will leave the school having completed a qualification that they are actually capable of completing.

5. ### e-Luddite

Promoting Computing (GCSE or AA) to girls is problematic. http://www.cs4fn.org/women/ has some useful resources that should endear some aspects of IT/Computing to girls

6. ### ToshaNew commenter

Because girls aren't good at it, just like boys aren;t good at presenting their work. Just like more boys are autistic. Hate to be non pc but girls will never chosse computing

7. ### scrunchup

I'm sorry, are you from the past?

8. ### ToshaNew commenter

No very much the present. Walk into a software house, despite massive attempts by the industry it is a male dominatted profession.

9. ### ToshaNew commenter

I notice all the resources you have uploaded are 'presenting information' resources;

10. ### scrunchup

I'm a developer. I help build those tools I linked to.

11. ### ToshaNew commenter

Yes there are excellent female engineers and computing students. My argument, and who knows if this is due to nature or nurture, is that more boys seem to naturally pick up programming than girls.

12. ### sashh

But if you belive thet then it will be reflected in your students perfomances.

* stomps off back to making movies in Matlab*

13. ### ToshaNew commenter

You think that?
I try to put more effort in with the ones that struggle.

14. ### sashh

Well you are a teacher you should but it doesn't alter your sexist attitude.

At A Level I (and the other girls) had to wait for the boys to finish with the computers before we were allowed near them. This was the early 80's so only a few computers.
I'm not accusing you of that, but it is the same attitude. You expect boys to be good at a particular subject so they are.

15. ### ToshaNew commenter

Am I sexist for knowing the more girls I have in an ICT class the better the grades, am I sexist for previously running computer club for girls, are family fisher trust and Midyis sexist for taking account of gender in VA calculations?

17. ### sashh

If that's your website you need to take a class in human computer interaction.

Yes you are sexist.
Apply it to another group, say a racial group or a particular nationality or a religeon and see how stupid it sounds.

18. ### scrunchup

I believe your original argument was
Yes, that is sexist, and I can't believe you could say that as a teacher.

19. ### djphillips1408New commenter

oh this sexism nonsense is just getting ridiculous. Just put a computer in every kitchen and you'll have the girls signing up like there's no tomorrow. Problem solved

20. ### sashh

The linkdoesn't work - I'll assume it's because you are a man and unable to post a working link.