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Has A-level ICT passed its sell-by date?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by rlfan82, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Depends on which exam board. I seriously don't understand in which direction Computing is heading:

    OCR looks interesting but doesn't have an AS project.

    AQA is nigh on impossible for lower-end students to understand and the structure of the course is crazy.

    WJEC is currently my board of choice.

    Somewhere along the line I'd like to get to electronic submission of coursework. Not electronic submission of documents, but actual programs. WJEC suggested that testing could be done in the form of a video, but I'd be tentative about trying this out.

    I still don't think students are getting credit for being good Computing students. My best students are those who can learn exam answers 'parrot-fashion' whilst being able to write up a good project, even when the program itself is not very impressive. If this pattern is repeated throughout the country, surely some of our top computer scientists are ending up at poorer uni's due to the nature of our exams system?

    Instead of asking universities to structure courses, why don't we speak to large organisations and ask them how their process of development works and copy it for our coursework?

    Rant Over :)
  2. Yeah, I don't get this - but the game is the game and it has always been so - look at who runs the country - these are the people who had the best education to enable them to kill the exams while understanding nothing and look at the consequences. I don't know how it could be organised any other way - who would examine the stuff our kids produced if we took a more results based approach? I have been told by Australian teachers that they take more of a 'product-based' approach but y'know, Australia - 60% desert, 100% cultural desert.

    Not familiar with your background but have you worked in industry? I have - it was always a panic for me with people who really didn't understand what they were doing but working to a horrible deadline. I don't think industry is necessarily an example for anyone to follow.
  3. Absolutely no experience in industry but I know plenty of people who do and they say that the way it's done at university/college is nothing like industry. I also know a lot of employers complain about the poor programming techniques picked up by students.

    I have to admit to teaching bad programming techniques myself but the focus on results along with time constraints means you need to get to the end product rather than get their by the most efficient method.

    On a different note, one of my most valuable experiences was working in a team project at university. I did say 'valuable' not 'enjoyable'!
  4. Pretty well everyone in Higher Education seem to think A-levels don't prepare students very well for university studies. We know employers don't rate A-levels all that highly. Anyone in teaching knows how much spoon-feeding goes on.
  5. You imply that A-level ICT once had merit. Is this what you intended ;-)
  6. Yes, I'm sure they do, but they don't tell us exactly what's wrong with them or how they would make them better.

    I'm not sure what would prepare kids for some of the ****** second-rate courses former pupils of mine have told me about; possibly many universities need to get their own houses in order before they start on schools and exam boards.

    What do they rate? Where are their detailed and substantive criticisms?

    'spoon feeding' - isn't that what they call teaching?
  7. I never understand this thing about spoonfeeding in ICT and computing. You have to teach pupils skills first, then get them to think about using their new knowledge in other contexts. The problem we have is that we only have 38 double lessons a year in year 7 - 9, about 50 hours a year. How am I supposed to do anything more than teach a few skills in a range of packages in that time, please someone? Would love to know.
  8. That is far more than many (most?) schools get!

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