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Well I am very happy with nationals

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by ictgoodpractice, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. I teach in an independent school so league tables are not our priority. I just got rid of AQA short course. It was hell, the kids hated it, it was not giving them real skills just how to print screen and state the obvious.
    Parents are very happy that they are gaining vital ICT skills for real world business use. The kids can see this too. I wonder whether we have tried to teach just to a pass? Distinction level is what I am aiming for and even our weaker kids can attempt this and end up with a merit.
    Personally the practical side of the nationals is showing the subject as a practical one, which I believe should be the case. Design technology is practical so is Art. I don't think the pupils would take these subjects if there ws not so much practical work in them. I would rather have this for whole school use and the GCSE as an option for the ones that are committed. I still think GCSE ICT is uninspiring so we are caught in a difficult situation.
    As to comments about jobs, 10 years ago when I was in the state sector millions was pumped into ICT at KS3, and from my understanding it seems they are now doing an about turn with the subject and I would be concerned if I was still in the maintainted sector about my job. It is a mess, unless my understanding is wrong.
    I have been told the nationals well be extended but will have to have an exam part and the rest tweaked.
  2. We teach OCR L2/L3 here too, and while I'm not as vehemently against them as some people on here I know they're issue - and you've highlighted it - weaker kids can end up with Merit (B). The course is lovely for those pupils that don't have the ICT skills and can get something out of it, but your majority of B+ pupils just have no use for it. If the OCR L2 was graded like OCR L3 (Pass being an E, Merit being a C, Distinction being an A), I think we'd be much closer to where the grading vs work set really is.
  3. There are some very good units in the OCR Nationals and I can see why a lot of schools like them. We started a new syllabus GCSE ICT course last year; it is very boring and the controlled assessments are dreadful. I wouldn't mind betting that the OCR Nationals students have a lot more fun and learn a lot more than GCSE ICT students, generally speaking.
    Because of our experiences with GCSE ICT in recent years from two exam boards, our school has finally said enough is enough. We will not not be offering GCSE ICT or any other ICT qualification from September 2012. We'll only be offering Computing AS level in KS4 as an option, or nothing (we are a grammar school). Let's hope the uptake is good!
  4. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    I agree, particularly when it comes to the practical aspects of ICT. I think that GCSE ICT and even computing are not suitable qualifications for most kids at that level since they (ICT in particular) equip students with a body of knowledge they don't need to know (Look! A ring network!).

  5. That's another rant I think - the lack of good specifications to actually teach when it comes to GCSE (bus and ring network inclusions being an issue you've already highlighted!)
    My issue with the OCR Nationals - if you're doing it as a core subject then you only do 3 units - mandatory Unit 1 with a lack of rigour for Pass (Merit and Dist isn't too bad). A choice then of Unit 20 Animation - most people choose Flash for Animation or Audacity for Sound... the former we're all hoping gets phased out on the web as HTML5 increases in use, the latter is hardly the most difficult of things to use.
    A great GCSE specification that comprised the good elements of Unit 1, parts of Unit 8 leading into a design task of Unit 2, some technical ICT theory with an exam and you've got a pretty good ICT course.
  6. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    I've never taught the course from start to finish, but my observations, having supported a number of students from a number of school across the county, are that:
    1. Unit 1 is tedious and trivial. The tasks are the sort of thing we used to do in year 7, but the requirement for evidence means that it takes longer to read the instructions or save the evidence than it does to do the actual task - e.g. deleting a record. The "multimedia product" (unit 4) is really only a KS3 presentation.
    2. It doesn't teach students anything - quite often students manage to complete modules without knowing what they've done or why. This especially the case for units like the "web graphics" one.
    3. The "web graphics" unit (21?) is especially badly delivered. Quite often the students produce something that doesn't require graphics at all (e.g. a "navigation bar" that would make more sense if done with DIVs and CSS). Even where students understand what they're doing and why, the course isn't "web graphics" at all; it's a unit on how to click particular buttons in Fireworks. I've never met a student who could explain how the end product works.
    For me, from an educational point-of-viewm, Functional Skills is a better course because of the degree of mastery required. Students are required to do fewer things, but at least they can actually do them at the end.

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