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Will Computer Science fail as a GCSE subject? Watch

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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    The first computer programs I wrote were stored on punched paper tape, I then progressed to audio cassettes.
    I went straight to 5.25" floppy - dad borrowed a commodore PET from work in the lats 70's

    spreadsheets weren't really there yet so it was actually quite useful to write small programs that could automate some repetitive engineering calculations.

    never had much luck with getting the cassettes to work for me tho
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    (Original post by stoyfan)
    GCSE electronics failed because it was pointless. Electronics was not nessecary if you wanted to apply for electronic engineering at uni and I am very doubtful that it even gave applicants an edge in the application process.
    Well a lot of popular gcse subjects including non-stem ones are in that boat.

    Law, sociology etc.

    Gotta find something to fill the timetables with
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    Do you know of any instances of people being rejected because they didn't have a traditional science GCSE but they had an alternative science GCSE such as astronomy or environmental science?

    I read somewhere that Computer Science officially counts as a science at GCSE.
    No I don't have any information about that Afaik the training provider decides what's included as science so there may be a bit of leeway for under subscribed specialisms...

    Man Met specifically doesn't want to know about Human Biology for primary teacher training
    http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/study/undergra...es/2018/14975/

    so 'having an ology' doesn't always make the cut
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    (Original post by Joinedup)
    Well STEM is a bit of a red herring IMO, e.g. if you want to be a teacher they'll ask if you've got a science which means strictly physics, chemistry and biology.

    BTW there was a 'computer studies' O level in the 8 bit BASIC era which did involve a bit of learning to code. I didn't do it and tbh most of the kids who were really into computers didn't either. my mates big sister (who did) told me it was soft and involved a lot of essay writing about the sociological implications of technology etc... as well as the dreaded project.
    Mates big sister left school at 16 and went to work doing 'data entry' at an insurance company fwiw.

    The best thing about computer studies was that it gave the school a reason to have about 10 TRS-80 micros which at my place we were allowed to use one lunch hour per week while the teacher sat in the room eating his sarnies to make sure a riot / theiving spree didn't break out.

    http://www.edtechhistory.org.uk/hist...ogramming.html

    ---
    just noticed this on the above webpage...

    Lamb (1985) summed up the general approach at that time to programming: " The ability to program is the most obvious skill that a child might acquire from school computing, but it is not necessarily an instant passport to a job. Although surveys of the computer industry continually allege that there is a severe shortage of programmers. systems analysts and engineers, school-leavers often find it difficult to get a start in computing. Employers want skilled staff and are reluctant to spend money on trainees. ln any case, few school children will join the sunrise industries of computing and electronics. Even if they do work with computers, they will not need more than an acquaintance with the standard typewriter keyboard in order to cope with the technologiy. ln the longer term, detailed knowledge of computers wilI become even less relevant as manufacturers strive to cut out the complexities of computer operation and make their machines more "user friendly".

    (my emphasis)
    TBH the entreaties of the BCS etc should probably be treated with a degree of scepticism today as well tbh.
    I agree with you about the BCS and I was wondering how to put that. Your quote does it very well.

    We had one TRS-80 and a stock cupboard to use it in (cue largo from Dvorak's 9th). I did Computer Studies CSE as a "lunchtime club" activity. We definitely did a "boys'" syllabus. We didn't do much, if anything, about the social implications of computing. It was mostly retrospectively documenting the process we hadn't used in writing the programs and a long essay on a real world computer application. I think we did the Nottingham Evening Post, which before Eddie Shah and Rupert Murdoch, was in the forefront of bringing technology to newspaper printing and paid for it with a lengthy strike. We wrote about the technology in use, not out of work compositors. Effectively, it was a free O level because nobody got involved who wasn't going to walk out with a grade 1.
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    (Original post by stoyfan)
    GCSE electronics failed because it was pointless. Electronics was not nessecary if you wanted to apply for electronic engineering at uni and I am very doubtful that it even gave applicants an edge in the application process.
    I seriously doubt that the founders of O Level / GCSE Electronics ever wanted it to be an essential subject for students who apply for engineering courses in further education. Instead they viewed the subject as value added but whether it turned out that way is a different story. Imagine you want to study electronic engineering. You take English language, mathematics, and physics or science for GCSE. What other subjects would you take to make up the magical number of 5 GCSEs? Assuming that Electronics is seen as a value added subject then it would be logical to take it if it's available. It could also be useful for the knowledge for careers ranging from film production to law enforcement.

    There are many subjects that are completely unnecessary for higher education or careers based around the subject including:

    ICT. I previously explained this one in #17

    Religious Studies. Not required to study the subject for A Level. Employers don't value it. The ethics and philosophy (like OCR B) syllabus is a joke subject.

    D&T Food Technology. The food industry and higher education is more interested that applicants have a C grade in English language and mathematics than a Food Tech GCSE.

    Psychology. It's just a bit of fun and hardly even counts for A Level applications let alone university.

    Nevertheless these subject are very popular and employers in general don't rate them highly.
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    (Original post by stoyfan)
    GCSE electronics failed because it was pointless. Electronics was not nessecary if you wanted to apply for electronic engineering at uni and I am very doubtful that it even gave applicants an edge in the application process.
    GCSE electronics was a successor to O level electronics and O level electronics had nothing to do with university admission. Like astronomy, geology and photography they were mostly done as "extras" in VIth forms before AS levels and when doing a fourth A level except as part of double maths or general studies was virtually unheard of. In the days when people actually failed O levels, most VI formers were resitting something and you needed something for those that weren't, to do.
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    I did GCSE Computer Science with Edexcel.

    Perhaps potential students are being put off by the supposed lack of organization and quality teaching that is associated with the course? I was lucky enough to be blessed with a great teacher at GCSE, but now that I have moved on to A Level (with another Sixth Form and another exam board), I am finding myself stressed and often uninspired.
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    Look at it from this perspective.

    GCSE Science (and Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) are:

    1. STEM subjects
    2. Deemed to be academically rigorous subjects
    3. Valued by higher education and employers
    4. Academic subjects rather than life skills

    GCSE ICT is:

    1. Not a STEM subject. It could be argued to be the modern day typing and office skills course that schools taught in the 1960s.
    2. Generally deemed to be a soft subject
    3. Not valued, or even counted, by higher education and employers. A GCSE in ICT is not required to study ICT or Computer Science in higher education and applicants with a GCSE in ICT are of no advantage over those without it.
    4. Often promoted as a life skill

    GCSE Computer Science ticks boxes 1, 2, and 4 for GCSE Science. As it is a new subject then only time will tell whether it ticks box 3.
    Of course GCSE CS ticks box 3, it is one of the hardest subjects so far you know.
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    (Original post by The RAR)
    Of course GCSE CS ticks box 3, it is one of the hardest subjects so far you know.
    Just because it's hard doesn't mean that it ticks box 3. Electronics and Computer Science at A Level are academically rigorous subjects (and generally thought of as hard) but they are NOT facilitating subjects. This factor alone sometimes puts students off taking them as VirgoStrain mentioned in #12.

    GCSE Computer Science may follow the laws of logic but the minds of 50 something hiring managers do not. If the subject is perceived as soft; perceived as ICT in all but name; or unheard of or unknown (like GCSE Electronics) because it didn't exist when they were at school, then it won't be valued. I have even come across electronic engineers who were not aware that GCSEs in Electronics and D&T Systems and Control even existed until I told them about it.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    The first computer programs I wrote were stored on punched paper tape, I then progressed to audio cassettes.
    (Original post by Joinedup)
    I don't know what the answer is.
    when the first 8 bit 'home computers' came out a subset of kids thought it was fascinating to program them... BASIC interpreter was the only software a lot of them came supplied with anyway.
    generally no one got much of a big project completed because the disk drives were a huge extra cost comparable to the price of the puter itself so everything was lost when you switched off.
    Basically that was small self-selected goals driven by competition with your mates to see who could produce the best code in perhaps a couple of hours. Maybe you'd read a magazine article about a better search algorithm or something and you'd want to play with that for a bit.

    What IMO sucked the fun out of the old DT O levels that I did was that you were required to produce and document a design project which always seemed contrived and was a longwinded bore when you wanted to be having fun learning some more new stuff.
    I learned machine code and 6800 assembler on this machine:



    ....and produced my first commercial bespoke hardware/software application using this machine complete with 24K ROM and 32K RAM running the CP/M operating system (which I always thought superior to MS DOS:



    1.2 MB 8" Winchester floppy drives were the height of technology at the time !
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    (Original post by uberteknik)
    I learned machine code and 6800 assembler on this machine:



    ....and produced my first commercial bespoke hardware/software application using this machine complete with 24K ROM and 32K RAM running the CP/M operating system (which I always thought superior to MS DOS:



    1.2 MB 8" Winchester floppy drives were the height of technology at the time !
    32K of RAM :work: What were you running, the Bank of England?

    I actually wrote my first programs for Trent Poly's DEC-20 mainframe
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DECSYSTEM-20
    before the school obtained a microcomputer.
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    Dev boards like the Arduino have revived interest in assembly language programming and using small amounts of RAM. Embedded computers should be covered in Computer Science because there is more to computing than desktops running Windows.
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    not enjoying computer science rn and i regret taking it for gcse. i wish i could drop it.
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    Dev boards like the Arduino have revived interest in assembly language programming and using small amounts of RAM. Embedded computers should be covered in Computer Science because there is more to computing than desktops running Windows.
    Embedded systems are covered, doing it right now.
    Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
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    Computer science was awful. The reason I didn't do the GCSE was that only months earlier in year 9 I was literally crying for hours on end after school and at home trying to code a minigame on greenfoot java. I did it and got one of the best marks, but it wasn't worth it for my mental health. I can't imagine having done that for another 2 years.
 
 
 
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