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Ofqual consults on GCSE computer science assessments
EB News: 06/11/2018 - 07:06
Ofqual has launched a consultation on long-term arrangements for the assessment of programming skills in GCSE computer science.
Earlier this year, Ofqual changed the assessment arrangements for GCSE computer science after the confidentiality of some of the programming tasks had been compromised. These revised arrangements mean that for students taking exams in 2019 and 2020 their GCSE computer science grades will be based on their exam performance alone.
Ofqual concluded that it is not possible to use non-exam assessment in the qualification to assess programming skills in a way that is manageable, reliable and fair.
For students starting their courses in 2020, who will be taking their exams in 2022, Ofqual proposes that all assessment, including that of programming skills, is conducted by exam.
The assessments will require students to complete the 4 steps of designing, writing, testing and refining a program to achieve a task or solve a problem as separate or combined activities.
The original assessment objective weightings for this qualification are reinstated, to reflect the importance of practical programming skills.
The consultation also proposes that the current short-term arrangements remain in place for students starting courses next September and sitting exams in this subject in 2021. This will allow exam boards to put in place revised assessments and allow teachers time to prepare. The current arrangements mean students have 20 hours set aside in their timetables to complete a programming task, and their programming skills are assessed during the exam.
Sally Collier, Ofqual Chief Regulator, said: "Practical programming skills are an important aspect of the computer science GCSE and we have carefully considered how best to assess them. Reflecting on how programming could be effectively assessed, previous experience with this qualification, and the views of those within the sector, we believe that in order to secure valid assessment and manage the risk of malpractice, programming skills should be assessed by examination."