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GCSE Computing: how good at programming do you need to be?

(10 Posts)
TheFirstOfHerName Thu 22-Jan-15 15:12:06

DS2 (Y8) will have to decide his GCSE options soon as his school runs GCSE courses from Y9 to Y11.

He wants to do Computing (OCR) as his 10th GCSE.

For: he is a very able mathematician, a very logical thinker, has tried a bit of coding on CodeAcademy and the teacher wrote to us last year to say that he shows a high level of natural aptitude for the subject and should be encouraged to pursue it.

Against: he has done hardly any programming compared to some of his peers who according to their parents, seem to have been writing code in their spare time since infant school. I have tried to encourage it, but it's not something he seems to choose to do in his spare time, unlike some of his friends.

I think he probably has an aptitude for the subject, but can you go from almost no experience to a good grade at GCSE in three years? Do the A* and A grades go to pupils who are passionate about programming and spend their free time doing it? He is on track to get A* and A in most if not all subjects, so if he's going to get a D in Computing then I'd rather he chose something else.

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 22-Jan-15 15:41:07

Seeing as they don't have to do any at school in ks3, I had assumed that the Computing Science GCSE was set up as if they were starting from scratch. Ds (y9) is planning on doing it - he has done some at school this year and last, but not loads, and he doesn't spend time outside school programming. But he told me last week that he wants to do a computer science degree smile

TheFirstOfHerName Thu 22-Jan-15 20:52:39

Thank you, that sounds reassuring. I think he would really enjoy it.

cricketballs Thu 22-Jan-15 21:21:31

we have to do some computing now in KS3 (they also in KS1&2) however this is only very recent and therefore the vast majority of students have no experience of computing prior to starting the course.

As to going from no experience to an A*/A grade in 3 years this is the case for a lot of subjects

TalkinPeace Thu 22-Jan-15 22:32:57

DS is doing it
no prior knowledge needed
but play with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Scratch, and Minecraft at home will help

TheFirstOfHerName Fri 23-Jan-15 07:32:56

Thank you.
He plays an hour or two of Minecraft most days.
He has done a bit of Scratch and Python.
I will look into the others.

Eastpoint Fri 23-Jan-15 07:36:11

DS is in year 10, he has played mine craft but has very little coding experience. However he is really enjoying the course & getting high marks for attainment & effort. He is doing it rather than a second MFL or RS.

basildonbond Fri 23-Jan-15 08:23:51

Ds started in September having had no prior experience of coding. He's taken to it really well and has just been identified as gifted in this subject. He is very good at maths which helps and is also aspie so comes at things from a different angle which helps him solve problems some of the other children struggle with

TheFirstOfHerName Fri 23-Jan-15 08:53:58

Thank you both, I'm feeling much more positive about the idea now.

ChipsAndEgg Fri 23-Jan-15 14:33:33

If he's decent at maths and can think logically, then he'll coast it. Programming isn't difficult.

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