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How can the OCR National be the same as a GCSE - there's only half the work!

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by poppyidol, Dec 5, 2006.

  1. I've been looking at this tonight for the first time and may have got it wrong. The gcse we do with ocr has

    a major piece of coursework (takes us about 6 months)
    two minor pieces of coursework (another 6 - 8 months for both)
    two exams.

    The National has

    one piece of major coursework (6o hours = 8 months work)
    one piece of minor coursework (30 hours = 3 - 4 months)
    no exams.

    Looking at the content, it seems that the national is a lot easier to pass than the gcse. Have I missed something out?
  2. I've been looking at this tonight for the first time and may have got it wrong. The gcse we do with ocr has

    a major piece of coursework (takes us about 6 months)
    two minor pieces of coursework (another 6 - 8 months for both)
    two exams.

    The National has

    one piece of major coursework (6o hours = 8 months work)
    one piece of minor coursework (30 hours = 3 - 4 months)
    no exams.

    Looking at the content, it seems that the national is a lot easier to pass than the gcse. Have I missed something out?
  3. You are correct. The National is clearly a dumbed down GCSE course, ideal if you need to show 'progress' in the school league tables. How OCR got away with getting the National equated with a GCSE, I will never know - there is CLEARLY a lot less work involved.

  4. With us having worked on both DiDA and OCR Nationals resources we know them both really well. Yes OCR Nationals are a lot easier and frankly this will make them popular wih schools. Whilst DiDA was 'sold' as a GNVQ replacement, it is really the OCR Nationals that best resemble them, with elements of DiDA thrown in. In reality and in defence of the OCR nationals, they can be more than GNVQ if you approach them right and encourage the uptake of some of the Units that can be a bit tougher. There are 23 units and not all of the options are easy. They can be as tough or as easy as you choose to make them depending on what units you are prepared to offer students.
  5. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    "They can be as tough or as easy as you choose to make them depending on what units you are prepared to offer students."

    I wonder how many would choose the tough option :( It's gonna get knocked as being mickey mouse long term, oh well I am sure some other exam board will come up with another set of emperor's new clothes sooner or later :(
  6. Some providers of resources are not even doing all the units, just the 'popular ones'so I guess that the tougher ones won't be encouraged too much. We're doing them all as you can't just decide what is popular, good resources should help make topics more 'popular'?

    I'd like to think that some schools will do units like "Planning and supporting Telecommunications" and "technological innovation and e-commerce" but sadly agree with you that modules like "spreadsheets" and "desktop publishing" will be more widespread.

    League tables distort everything and every qualification gets measured by its impact on league tables?
  7. So when QCA looked at the work involved in the OCR National, and said to themselves, 'hang on a minute, there's only half the work needed compared to a gcse', why / how did they then say, 'oh, what the fukc, let's make it equivalent to a gcse'?

    Surely, all QCA have done is added fuel to the fire; critics say exams / qualifications are getting easier - and the critics are right!
  8. arron spelt aaron

    arron spelt aaron New commenter

    "qualifications are getting easier - and the critics are right!"

    How true !

    Perhaps it's time to start retraining now - I'll teach Media or Drama in my new life !

  9. Have been thinking about doing BTEC National Cert at KS4. How does this compare in the OCR Nationals/Dida/GNVQ/GCSE debate?
  10. Oh thank God! Sanity does exist!

    I have spent the last two days scanning this specification to try and find complexity! How the hell did this get QCA approval as a GCSE? The school I am in is changing because it is beyond simple and therefore can almost guarentee 100% pass levels. For me, I'm leaving anyhow and refuse to take this on where I am going.

    ICT has now been reduced to a farcical topic. According to the Independent Online this was set up with businesses involved in the process and that this is a shift from capabilities (audience, purpose) to skills training. And they see this as a good thing!

    Key Stage 3 National Framework expects more from the students than this mickey mouse course. QCA and OCR should be ashamed (but then they get their silver don't they).
  11. I was really suprised when I took a good look at the specification for the National. It is so easy! I thought we are supposed to be trying to raise standards, not dumb them down.

    This course is a huge joke.
  12. gavcradd

    gavcradd New commenter

    Hang on, I think some ICT teachers just like to moan.

    DiDA typical quote : "This course is too hard, the kids don't get it, there's too much high level explanation to be done and not enough skills based work.".

    OCR typical quote : "This course is too easy, the kids don't feel challeneged, there's too much skill based work and not enough explanations"

    So the OCR course is easy, Why exactly ware you complaining? The GNVQ wasn't exactly hard was it, except you had to do 4 GCSEs worth of work not just 1. I love the fact that it's skill based; we've written our entire KS3 SoW around skills and thrown out the National Strategy stuff.

    Moan moan moan.
  13. This course is GNVQ plus it has the flexibility that GNVQ lacked 1, 2, 3 or 4 GCSE's

    It is skills based and that is what industry needs, how about introducing touch typing, that is what industry really need not the nebulous capability that KS3 insists on.

    Compared with DiDa it is much more straight forward course and yes it will help improve school and pupil results.

    Who is the fool the schools using OCR or the ones complaining that DiDa isn't what it was promised or sold as ?
  14. As regards moaning about DiDA; I haven't. To me, DiDA is the old GNVQ with very little chance (pre-2000).

    As regards skills-based training. Isn't that the very thing we are meant to avoid in KS3?

    As regards 'this is what business wants'; what skills training? Probably, yet do we really want to turn our classrooms into mini-offices? Equally, businesses might want skills-based but the OCR is so weak and watered down that business will not get what they want.

    What's wrong with an easy course? First, it means that some schools will work to the minimum and that will become heavily publicised and then the courses will become as ludicriously over-complicated and prescriptive again.

    Secondly, with a weak course the candidates we have are acquiring qualifications that they simply do not deserve. As a former employer I would not consider someone with an OCR award worthy of employing.

    We can get everyone to gain a GCSE simply by lowering the standards barrier but that negates the point of qualifications - to measure knowledge and understanding.

    We need a conversation in ICT. Are we skills-training (limiting our students to today's software) or concept training which involves both skills-training but is focussed on audience, purpose and allows for a longer-view with the cost to understanding the software to the level required?

    I'd rather students understand how to develop websites using DIVs, iFrames and CSS effectively, the purpose behind design and the methods available. I'd love to teach Flash to the nth degree and see students truly achieve high standards of work. I'd like to see magazine covers that actually look like they come from a magazine covers.
  15. tonyuk

    tonyuk Occasional commenter

    The OCR national gives flexibility and allows the 1-4 GCSE options. As far as CSS etc is concerned his is in the National as far as I am aware.
    As for Divs etc well the problem we have in ICT unique to most other subjects is that software and, in the case of web, standards change faster than curriculum and courses can keep up.
  16. gavcradd

    gavcradd New commenter

    gazzieh; if you're teaching DiDA in the same way that you taught GNVQ then I wouldn't like to be one of your students. There's a massive difference in the expectations, the method of completing the work, the methods of assessing the work, everything. It's not that it's hard, it's just that Edexcel don't seem to be able to tell us what exactly you need to do to get a top grade. When they do give us some advice, it changes week on week.

    For me, as a 26 year old in my 4th year of teaching ICT after graduating from a Computer Science degree, skills based lessons are the way to go. The KS3 strategy is so full of bumph that the kids hate and the teachers hate teaching.

    I'd love to be using Flash and CSS as well; why not do this in one of the OCR modules then? There's nothing stopping you! My particular facy is Cubase and music production; I'd love to put this in somewhere and I think there's an OCR module that'll let me do this...
  17. yep - creating sound using ICT - Unit 22
    With the nationals, if you use a variety of units and keep off some of the boring ones there is a decent qual here. If you just stick with spreadsheets and databases you may just as well go back to GNVQ. DiDA is at the other extreme, very unlike GNVQ, which is both its strength and its downfall.
  18. Okay, to quantify, at present I have only glanced at DiDA and the structure looks similar to GNVQ. I have already been told there are considerable differences and I look forward to seeing these when I do start in September (before you ask, I am a senior manager within a secondary school with 12 years of teaching and 13 years in industry as programmer, analyst and head of department).

    My issue with the OCR is it's simplistic nature. You can make it difficult (and in fact, as I have to deliver it at my present post I have included DIVs and iFrames, xHTML and CSS throughout) but then you are adding unnecessary complexity that now means the qualification differs depending on the teacher's or school's desires. If business look closely at the qualification or a large number (minority yet large) of schools deliver the minimum required (as several will do) then the qualification will lose all merit (GNVQ Int and GNVQ Adv by 2000 for example); regardless of your own complexity added.

    I agree with the use of Cubase; fantastic program and full of potential. Same with Adobe Premier and video editing (cost is always an issue but that never changes). The issue is where the barrier is. In my opinion OCR has set the pass requirement so low that the baseline qualification has little or no merit and will therefore be considered useless within 5 years.

    As regards the arguement of Skills-based or Concept-based training; universities and businesses have been arguing this one for years and it seemed conceptualisation won but the OCR throws that away. If we teach our students how to use Word then that is all they will know. If we teach them how to analyse, design and present a magazine article then those concepts are transferable to any program (and yes, I know you wouldn't use Word for a magazine article). I know that the skill in business and beyond is not can you use a single program but can you quickly gain an understanding of a particular program because you know what it should allow you to do.

    Basically, if I know I have to create a presentation I should know the key elements of a presentation and then be able to use any program (be it PowerPoint, Impress or other) to create that very item.

    Conceptual gives the student the skills and knowledge needed to build transferable skills. Skills training limits this.

    I agree that the framework is flawed, but have a look at Teach-ICT's approach (such as Pirates of the Cariben [sic]) and you can engage the students really nicely.
  19. Sorry, but this is not being done for children but for Headteachers to gain League Table points. Colleges and Employers do not value these courses.
  20. colwynexile

    colwynexile Occasional commenter

    Everyone stand up

    MyMouse lives.....

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