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OCR's Computing GCSE not exactly a shining example is it?!

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by tosbrown, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. I have a great deal of concerns about the whole current debate. for intance, take the only computer science based GCSE OCR Compuing. Sorry to be a bit critical, but here is an example of a GCSE where:
    1. There hasn't been a textbook for the two years of the course (totally leaving schools and students to guess the content, depth, and breadth of the specification).
    2. Have created controlled assessments in programming where experienced software engineers would struggle to do the full analysis and design evidence, programming, full systematic testing and evaluation for 3 pieces of software. All in 20 hours!!!!!!!!!!
    3. Where students sat an exam (June 2011) that was too challenging and had too much of an A-level flavour; and then the chief examiner blamed the students for performing very badly!
    OCR are rapidly turning into a major joke.
    However, rather bizarrely the Computing GCSE is actually fantastic. Why you say?
    Its because in the vaccuum of no textbook and no in depth guidance on the academic content; teachers have gone off in every direction and done their own exciting things. Good stuff going on with Computing GCSE has got naff-all to do with OCR, and everything to do with teachers taking on something new, needed and exciting in the curriculum. AQA, WJEC, Edexcel must take note. They need to provide alternatives to these numpties at OCR.
    Every Computing GCSE teacher must be praying hard that the person who wrote the last exam paper has gone on an extended holiday to the south pole and isn't involved in the May exam, and that the controlled assessment moderators have common sense (and put the marking grids to better use in their toilets).
  2. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    So people are complaining that computing grades are rather poor and it must be some mistake with the system. Well who could have seen that coming?
  3. Tosha

    Tosha New commenter

    David, clearly from your post on the OCR GCSE thread you must have infered that the problem is OCR rather than Computing or ICT.
  4. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    Nope that was a mistake on my part, been a while since I posted and got too excited!!! It's just computing I was aiming at. Every man, woman and dog says it's the way forward. I am just saying that I can see trouble ahead........
  5. <font size="2">Edexcel are brining out a new computing course in September, look on their website for details. Looks quite exciting.</font>

  6. There hasn't been a textbook for the two years of the course (totally
    leaving schools and students to guess the content, depth, and breadth of
    the specification).
  7. rubikwizard

    rubikwizard New commenter

    "There hasn't been a textbook for the two years of the course (totally
    leaving schools and students to guess the content, depth, and breadth of
    the specification)."

    We use this book and it is very good. There are also the online resources from the publisher/exam board.
  8. Ssshhhh. You have to whisper 'WJEC' these days, especially within ICT/Computing circles ;)
  9. Without a text book endorsed by the exam board - there is still the gamble that we are advising the wrong definitions to the mark scheme. Whilst my colleagues and I are very grateful to others for putting in the time and effort to produce a textboook, there is still doubt in the content; I'd rather trust a textbook from an exam board as at least a reference. Also, the online resources are pretty sketchy - a fair few links they suggest don't even work anymore and virtually no practise questions. I'm just crossing my fingers I have properly prepared my pupils for the summer exam. If they do well, the hours and hours, no months and months of planning and producing resources will have been worth it. Otherwise, I will feel pants!
  10. rubikwizard

    rubikwizard New commenter

    I agree the online resources are rather poor and the lack of questions is a problem, however having been on the courses and spoken to the examiners I feel confident I am preparing my class properly for the exam. So far the kids love this course and I am really enjoying teaching it.

  11. I can;t be pestered with the whole 'Computing is great' vs 'Computing is rubbish' argument, but I do take issue with this:

    Really? My Y11s (mixed ability, all but 1 having no previous programming experience) have almost finished the A453 tasks with the theatre booking system in about 1 hours, including analysis, planning, coding, testing and evaluating all three elements.
  12. Oops - too slow to get in the editing window. 14 hours! I said 14 hours!
  13. Really? Look again at the specific words of the marking grid and ask yourself if you've really hit the mark. I'm sure you have.... but who knows what a pedantic moderator will think?
    Overall I think that OCR have created a marking grid that is not realistic. Whereas you've clearly advised documentation for your students that they will find comfortable to achieve, other schools have looked at the marking grid and paniced at the very many specific requirements across the development lifecycle. I strongly believe that there is a mismatch between the marking grid and what can be achieved in 20 hours.
    HappyHippy, have you considered the possibility that you've undersold your students on the evidence required? Have you been moderated in a previous series?
    I'm winding myself up about OCR and Computing (yes - it has been a long day!!).... but they do certainly need to hear critical feedback on what they are doing (and how they have a head in the sand approach to most criticism sent to them via the OCR forum). HappyHippy you are deluding yourself if you think that many schools aren't significantly struggling with meeting the requirements of the programming controlled assessment. "I'm alright Jack" is certainly not how many Computing GCSE teachers are feeling right now (and I've talked to a few).
  14. Have you been to any of the OCR CPD? I have not delivered work through moderation (Although I'll bet my house HH has) but I left the OCR run session with a full understanding of what is required, especially re documentation. The supervisor gave a clear assurance that moderation was a supportive process that follows given guidance and that its primary function was to help establish confirmation of your assessment of pupil work.

    Have you encountered a pedantic moderator here, or is this a personal fear before assessment?

    P.S. Your complaints were not brought up by those already delivering the course on my training...
  15. I've talked to a few as well, but thanks for telling me that I'm delusional. I haven't submitted any coursework myself, but I've spoken to several people at OCR with whom I'm just about on first name terms and very, very few centres have had marks adjusted.

    I'm not suggesting that any qualification is perfect and I'm all for passing feedback on - I'm just not quite so keen on scaremongering, at least until I have the evidence to back it up.
  16. Darn there goes my house :)

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