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Would A Level Computer Science be more popular if it became a Russell Group subject? watch

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    The Russell Group A Levels are:

    Mathematics
    Further mathematics
    Biology
    Chemistry
    Physics
    English literature
    Geography
    History
    Any modern or classical language

    It is notable that all of these subjects have been available as A Levels since A Levels first existed and no new subjects have been added apart from some modern languages. The Russell Group universities appear to be functioning as a cartel to enforce only traditional A Level subjects as academically rigorous subjects and to prevent any new subjects from becoming as respectable as the traditional A Level subjects.

    Computer science is not currently a popular A Level but would its popularity significantly increase if it became a Russell Group subject?
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    Yes and no...? It would become more of a preferable third subject I guess? But unless it becomes a requirement for a university subject (like how these subjects you've listed will appear in the entry requirements for different degrees), it won't be significant.
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    The Russell Group A Levels are:

    Mathematics
    Further mathematics
    Biology
    Chemistry
    Physics
    English literature
    Geography
    History
    Any modern or classical language

    It is notable that all of these subjects have been available as A Levels since A Levels first existed and no new subjects have been added apart from some modern languages. The Russell Group universities appear to be functioning as a cartel to enforce only traditional A Level subjects as academically rigorous subjects and to prevent any new subjects from becoming as respectable as the traditional A Level subjects.

    Computer science is not currently a popular A Level but would its popularity significantly increase if it became a Russell Group subject?
    There is no such thing as "Russel Group A-levels". These are known as core traditional subjects.

    It wouldn't make much difference if it was or wasn't.
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    (Original post by High Stakes)
    Yes and no...? It would become more of a preferable third subject I guess? But unless it becomes a requirement for a university subject (like how these subjects you've listed will appear in the entry requirements for different degrees), it won't be significant.
    It could always become a preferred subject but not a mandatory requirement.

    My concern is that if A Level Computer Science is not respected by universities or employers in the same way as other science subjects are, then it has the potential to seriously jeopardise the recent initiatives to install computer science and coding into the primary and secondary school curriculum. Computer science is now a core subject in primary schools and KS3 leading to a GCSE that is officially regarded as a STEM subject. It is very different from the old ICT course that is not a STEM subject and will soon be discontinued as a GCSE.

    (Original post by kkboyk)
    There is no such thing as "Russel Group A-levels". These are known as core traditional subjects.
    http://russellgroup.ac.uk/for-studen...l-and-college/
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    Computer science is not currently a popular A Level but would its popularity significantly increase if it became a Russell Group subject?
    It doesn't work like that. For example, Psychology is one of the most popular A-Levels and it's not viewed as a facilitating subject by RG. RG doesn't equal popularity.


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    (Original post by kkboyk)
    There is no such thing as "Russel Group A-levels". These are known as core traditional subjects.
    The Russel Group calls them "facilitating" to be precise.

    Anyway, I think the OP makes a good point. Usually subjects beings at degree level, then some time later an A level might develop, then perhaps a GCSE (e.g. psychology, economics). The movement comes top down.

    But in the case of coding, the movement is bottom up (starting at primary school). So there must be a way to continue at a higher level. I think there's a good chance that computer science will be a well respected A level for science, especially as so much science these days depends on coding.

    The trouble is, good teachers are hard to find. If you're actually good at coding, you tend to get a lucrative and interesting job elsewhere (same thing happens with maths and physics at the moment). Perhaps quality online teaching will be the future...
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    (Original post by chazwomaq)
    The Russel Group calls them "facilitating" to be precise.
    Russell

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    No I think it should stay to those subjects.

    The other subjects aren't bad at all, they're just very specialised. The RG subjects are broad and general. They can be applied to any degree, whereas the others are applicable to a very narrow range of degrees.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    It doesn't work like that. For example, Psychology is one of the most popular A-Levels and it's not viewed as a facilitating subject by RG. RG doesn't equal popularity.
    I can't prove this but I'm under the impression that if an A Level is not a Russell Group / facilitating / core traditional subject then it will only be a popular subject if it is fun and not particularly academically rigorous. The only exceptional cases appear to be music and law. An A Level that is academically rigorous or deemed to be hard will never be popular, or even valued by society, if it does not have the endorsement of the Russell Group universities.

    I hold an A Level in Electronics. It's a STEM subject and is about as academically rigorous as chemistry or biology is. It's also one of the most, if not the most, mathematical subjects apart from mathematics and physics. Despite this it is an unpopular subject that has just over 1000 people taking it every year and is not particularly valued or respected by society. I fear that the computer science A Level could go down the same avenue. I also hold the old Computing A Level that was another unpopular subject although it was overshadowed by the ICT A Level which many times more colleges offered. Now that both the computing and the ICT A Levels have been replaced by the computer science A Level, and computer science offered as a GCSE and a core part of the National Curriculum, then it presents a golden opportunity to re-evaluate the subject. The question is whether computer science will become a respected A Level like biology, chemistry, and physics currently are or whether 'luddites' from high ranking universities and industry will win resulting in it being a marginal subject like electronics and the old computing A Levels are?
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    It's not just RG unis that like these A-Levels. All unis do.
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    I can't prove this but I'm under the impression that if an A Level is not a Russell Group / facilitating / core traditional subject then it will only be a popular subject if it is fun and not particularly academically rigorous. The only exceptional cases appear to be music and law.
    Economics
    Philosophy

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    (Original post by Don John)
    The other subjects aren't bad at all, they're just very specialised. The RG subjects are broad and general. They can be applied to any degree, whereas the others are applicable to a very narrow range of degrees.
    Not true. English literature and history A Levels aren't highly regarded by university science and engineering departments.

    A biochemistry applicant with A Levels in biology, chemistry, and computer science, or an engineering applicant with A Levels in mathematics, physics, and computer science will be looked at more favourably than if computer science was replaced by English literature. Interviewers probably wouldn't query the choice of computer science as an A Level but they would query the choice of English literature.

    There are people who believe in a broad choice of A Levels but in reality a compatible or reasonably relevant selection is usually preferred.
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    Not true. English literature and history A Levels aren't highly regarded by university science and engineering departments.

    A biochemistry applicant with A Levels in biology, chemistry, and computer science, or an engineering applicant with A Levels in mathematics, physics, and computer science will be looked at more favourably than if computer science was replaced by English literature. Interviewers probably wouldn't query the choice of computer science as an A Level but they would query the choice of English literature.

    There are people who believe in a broad choice of A Levels but in reality a compatible or reasonably relevant selection is usually preferred.
    Exactly, and that also means Computer Science doesn't need the "validation" of becoming a facilitating subject.




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    (Original post by jneill)
    Exactly, and that also means Computer Science doesn't need the "validation" of becoming a facilitating subject.
    Looked at from the opposite perspective then English literature should be de-listed as a facilitating subject.
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    Looked at from the opposite perspective then English literature should be de-listed as a facilitating subject.
    But it is facilitating lol...it's a traditional rigorous subject that is well respect and seen as a good gauge of academic performance.

    Also notice how all the facilitating subjects are requirements for their own subjects...

    For Chemistry...You need Chemistry
    For Biology...You need Biology.
    For English...You need English Lit.

    For Computer Science? Maths.
    For Psychology? Preferably Biology.
    For Law? Preferably History/English Lit
    For Economics? Maths (& Further Maths)

    You see why they're called facilitating? They enable students to go into a variety of specialised degree because of their broad nature.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Exactly, and that also means Computer Science doesn't need the "validation" of becoming a facilitating subject.




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    I don't think they understand the meaning of facilitating itself.

    Traditional/RG subjects tend to be facilitating. A levels like Economics or Philosophy are traditional but they will never be in the entry requirements for any university course. They do not facilitate a students entry.
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    computer science will not become a facilitating subjects anytime soon because so few schools teach it.
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    The impression I have of A Levels is the following:

    1. The Russell Group universities appear to be functioning as a cartel to prevent any newer A Level subjects from becoming facilitating subjects regardless of how related they are to degree courses. It could even be argued that they are trying to create an education system effectively frozen in the 1950s by failing to give the same degree of credit to newer subjects as they do to more traditional subjects.

    2. The only respectable subjects that are not Russell Group or facilitating are music and economics. Everything else is perceived as being a soft subject, inferior to a Russell Group or facilitating subject, or not seen as a good gauge of academic performance.

    3. If a subject is not Russell Group or facilitating then it acts as a disincentive to students to study if it is academically rigorous or deemed to be hard. High ability students in KS4 are recommended that they take Russell Group or facilitating subjects over those which are not. I'm well aware that many subjects that are not Russell Group or facilitating can be very popular but most of them are deemed to be easy or fun subjects, and none of them are STEM subjects.

    My recommendations are:

    1. For the DfE to create a list of academically rigorous A Levels as a replacement for the Russell Group or facilitating subjects. This will include the existing Russell Group or facilitating subjects plus computer science, economics, electronics, geology, and music.

    2. Facilitating subjects to be matched to degree courses rather than being general.

    (Original post by Raees_Sharif)
    computer science will not become a facilitating subjects anytime soon because so few schools teach it.
    That's got the potential to create a catch 22 situation. Universities won't ask for computer science because it isn't widely available, and students won't take computer science because universities don't ask for it.

    It's always possible that computer science could be a recommended (but not mandatory) subject for computing degree courses and recognised for other degree courses such as sciences, engineering, and economics.
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    1. For the DfE to create a list of academically rigorous A Levels as a replacement for the Russell Group or facilitating subjects. This will include the existing Russell Group or facilitating subjects plus computer science, economics, electronics, geology, and music.
    There's no need for that. http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/admissions...l-combinations
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    (Original post by Raees_Sharif)
    There's no need for that. http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/admissions...l-combinations
    That's just specific to Trinity College. I'm referring to a national list endorsed by the DfE following the recent A Level reforms.
 
 
 
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