Key stage 4

Pearson – GCSE

Computer science is a key stage 4 course option only.

This qualification reflects the fast changing world of computer science. It will help students develop the computational skills they need for an exciting digital future beyond the classroom with:
• an exciting, practical focus on real-life programming and developing skills relevant to the future
• innovative, practical, future-looking onscreen assessments

What will be studied?
There are six topics that will be covered during the course. These are:

Topic 1: Computational thinking – understanding of what algorithms are, what they are used for
and how they work, the ability to follow, amend and write algorithms, and the ability to construct truth tables.

Topic 2: Data – understanding of binary, data representation, data storage and compression.

Topic 3: Computers – understanding of hardware and software components of computer systems
and characteristics of programming languages.

Topic 4: Networks – understanding of computer networks and network security.

Topic 5: Issues and impact – awareness of emerging trends in computing technologies, and
the impact of computing on individuals, society and the environment, including ethical, legal and ownership issues.

Topic 6: Problem-solving with programming – understanding algorithms, decomposing problems and reading, writing, refining and evaluating programs.

Paper 1: Principles of computer science
Written examination: 1 hour and 30 minutes (50%)

Paper 2: Application of computational thinking
Onscreen examination: 2 hours (50%)