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Computer Science/Computing A level a prerequisite? watch

    • Thread Starter

    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    It is however largely unmathematical, thus needs to be "re-"taught rigorously anyway
    It doesn't really matter if it's not "mathematical" it still gives students a great background knowledge which is good enough to make it a prerequisite IMO. Instead of learning from scratch you could just build up at university if this were the case.

    I bought the book Introduction To Algorithms because I was bored and read a bit of it over the summer. Since the field of algorithms is probably the most mathematical mainstream field in computer science and the notation used in the book was fairly basic and easy to understand I think that an A level in CS is much better (compared to a maths A level) for a potential CS undergraduate. There may still be important uses of maths in CS so I think if anything both should be required subjects.
    • Thread Starter

    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    Whether you like it or not the content you are so vigorously defending is easier to grasp, easier to teach, and thus takes less time to build up. Calculus presents many conceptual difficulties for students learning it for the first time, and so many take longer, and universities need to account for this when designing curricula. Additionally calculus has a single format in which it exists, and barring a handful of rare notation and terminology changes which do not affect the mechanics of the concept, is the same everywhere. Programming languages vary immeasurably, and unlike calculus what may be in vogue one year is likely to be very unappealing even 10 years hence. Nobody uses FORTRAN unless they have an axe to grind.
    The same could be said about OOP it takes a bit for even a well versed student to wrap their head around it and understand its benefits; if the student understood the concept before hand I bet it would save a lot of time and allow for deeper learning. So what you're saying again is very opinion based and not a valid argument to make.

    (Original post by EpicMan)
    Should Computer science at A level be a prerequisite to take computing/computer science related courses at university (undergrad).
    Not for the next 5 years because Computer Science is quite a new subject and colleges are still finding their feet after transitioning from the old Computing and ICT A Levels. What should be done are:

    1. Make Computer Science a facilitating A Level with immediate effect.

    2. Raise awareness of the Computer Science A Level amongst university admissions tutors. This applies to many departments including mathematics, engineering, physics, and even law and economics as well as computing subjects. It's possible that the Computer Science A Level could be looked down on by many admissions tutors either because they lack understanding of the subject or their minds are tainted by the old Computing and ICT A Levels. The fact that it isn't a facilitating subject doesn't help them either.

    3. Ensure that Computer Science is a preferred or recommended A Level for university courses in computer science, or other technical computing subjects, over certain other facilitating A Level subjects which are far less relevant such as Chemistry, Geography, History, and foreign languages.

    In 5 years time the situation should be reviewed. If Computer Science becomes a widely available A Level and universities are happy with it then they should be allowed to make Computer Science a prerequisite for certain courses. This will then enable courses to be developed where they no longer have to go over A Level topics in the first year so instead they can teach more advanced material.
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