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CIE Computer Science A Level

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by Penny10p, May 27, 2019.

  1. Penny10p

    Penny10p Occasional commenter

    Anyone teaching this course? What did you think of the papers?
  2. Compucademy

    Compucademy New commenter

    I've taught this course. It's pretty thorough. There are definitely some good points, but the treatment of ADTs is insanely complex, IMO. They have linked lists implemented inside arrays, and then base stacks, queues and trees off of this. The implementations given in the text book and teacher resource are nasty and my students could make little sense of them even with various tracing tools. OOP is covered in depth and well, and it's great there is no course work, IMO. All very subjective of course...
  3. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    Linked lists are best taught using a language which has pointers, like C. Stacks are a nightmare to implement in arrays, I have tried it but easy in languages which support stacks, like VB.

    Tracing tools are useless. Never found one which helped me in any way. I rarely use any resources supplied by an exam board. I write my own to suit the students in front of me.
  4. Dorsetdreams

    Dorsetdreams Occasional commenter

    I get my Y13 students to create a stack class using an array, with push and pop methods and suitable error catching. Then a queue. Using C# now, although I did it with VB for several years. It wasn't a nightmare at all.

    I did attempt linked lists a few years ago and only my very best students got anywhere. It is no longer in the AQA theory spec (although they are mentioned in the project, and that annoys me for several reasons).
  5. Compucademy

    Compucademy New commenter

    @Dorsetdreams, Unfortunately the CIE A level exam questions on ADTs are based on the pointer/array based implementations in the text book, which are pretty tricky to follow.

    I would much rather use a simple Node class like this in Python:

    class Node:
    def __init__(self,initdata):
    self.data = initdata
    self.next = None

    def getData(self):
    return self.data

    def getNext(self):
    return self.next

    def setData(self,newdata):
    self.data = newdata

    def setNext(self,newnext):
    self.next = newnext

    This allows students to focus on algorithms which use the ADTs, rather than getting bogged down in lower-level implementations than they are likely to ever need.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019

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