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What do Computer Science an Music GCSE students look like?

(53 Posts)
GoodyGoodyGumdrops Sat 14-Jan-17 11:26:44

Dd has Options Evening coming up. She's a middle-of-the-top-set student. She has four options to choose. She is considering Computer Science and Music.

Dh and I have a concern that she is 'following' her big brother. It's really difficult to know whether she is actually choosing for herself, or from his example (she has form for this).

We also can't quite get past our own preconceptions. Ds is a total, classic geek. His desk looks like Mission Control, with all sorts of tech that he has bought himself. He learns programming languages for fun, ditto composing and technically manipulating music. So to us, that is what a Computer Science and Music GCSE student looks like.

Dd is nothing like him at all!

Really don't know how best to support and guide her.

mysteryfairy Sat 14-Jan-17 11:34:01

Both my DSs did GCSE music and DD is currently taking it. They are all fairly different from each other and their other subject choices were not similar. None of them is interested in computer science. They are all grade 8 instrumentalists though so have being reasonable musicians in common.

A maths teacher I know has just started heading up his school's computer science department. I work in Information Technology so asked him about his students. He said they are almost all boys and mostly second set boys aiming at b/c grades as the highest fliers are all doing triple science etc and can't afford to use an option on it.

Damia Sat 14-Jan-17 11:36:17

You're talking a lot about him but nothing about her. There is no supposed to be about anything. Does she like computers and music. Has she read the syllabus. Does she realise what she will be studying. What does she do in her spare time?

GoodyGoodyGumdrops Sat 14-Jan-17 11:39:25

Neither of my dc are musicians. Ds has a fantastic ear, and could probably have gone further than Grade 2 had instrument lessons interested him. Dd has not done any grades, and has never shown any particular instrumental aptitude, despite having lessons. She has been having Voice lessons for a couple of years and has improved enormously, but I have no idea what Grade she would be.

At our school you have to be top set Maths (or near it) to do Computer Science, and doing Triple Science does not use up an option, so Computer Science tends to be a high-achieving class.

GoodyGoodyGumdrops Sat 14-Jan-17 11:41:36

What does she do in her spare time?

Nothing to do with either subject! She'll play Minecraft, but only writes code if it is schoolwork. Ditto music. Her work is excellent, but totally compartmentalised into 'school'.

Creatureofthenight Sat 14-Jan-17 11:43:35

If she's been having singing lessons for a couple of years then presumably she is interested in music so that choice makes sense (btw Voice is an instrument!).
Does she have any interest in computers? Is ICT/Computer Science a subject that she gets good marks in?

nocampinghere Sat 14-Jan-17 11:44:05

personally i wouldn't choose music unless she learns an instrument or has a real flair. It's hard to get the top grades. Is she an A/B student or more hoping for Cs?

More to the point what is she dropping to do music? is she naturally better at any of those?

Chippednailvarnishing Sat 14-Jan-17 11:44:27

Our local secondary schools make you audition before you can take GCSE music. I would be asking for the same.

However your whole "this is what a music or computer science student looks like" is ridiculous. Stop stereotyping your children, computer science is just another academic subject.

NotMeNoNo Sat 14-Jan-17 11:49:55

Please don't discourage her from studying computer science because she doesn't fit a geeky stereotype! Your DS is doing a GCSE that is also his hobby. But that isn't a pre requisite for doing the GCSE.

The problem is these things are male normed and put girls (or their parents) off and so it never changes. (I'll get off my soapbox now).

Chippednailvarnishing Sat 14-Jan-17 11:55:47

Get back on your soapbox Not.

It is attitudes like this that hold women back.

NotMeNoNo Sat 14-Jan-17 11:57:30

Has she any inkling what she wants to do ultimately, is she good at science/maths?

nocampinghere Sat 14-Jan-17 12:01:44

many schools don't offer computer science GCSE because they can't staff it. if your's does, grab it with both hands.

not to be confused with IT GCSE which, apparently, is easy and few schools bother with it.

SallyGinnamon Sat 14-Jan-17 12:03:21

DS did Computer Science GCSE and is very similar to your DS. A real maths and computing whizz, designed an app in Y8; does extra programming stuff in his spare time etc.

DD is in Y9 and is just choosing her options. She is also thinking of computing just because she enjoys it. Which is also a valid reason. Same as why she's choosing Spanish and Geography; because she enjoys them. She's not off on field trips for the geography nor watching Spanish TV channels. Just doing her school work.

I think it's lucky if DC have a real passion for a subject, but for the level that they study at GCSE a genuine interest is enough IMO.

mysteryfairy Sat 14-Jan-17 12:05:19

I definitely didn't mean she shouldn't do computer science so sorry if it read like that! Like I said I work in technology. I'm very non geeky and it's not my hobby, but I still manage to function in a technical role. I would be thrilled to have more female colleagues.

The question was what does one look like and the answer from the department I know of is like a boy. I was told he had 45 students in Y10, only 2 female.

GeorgeTheThird Sat 14-Jan-17 12:05:53

DS2 will take computing GCSE this summer and shows no interest in programming outside the schoolwork. He recently got an A* in his mock. He is, however, extremely good at maths, close to the top of the top set in a moderately selective school and may well do a maths degree.

NotMeNoNo Sat 14-Jan-17 12:07:13

I thought IT GCSE was being axed actually. I have one of those geeky sons who was worried until we explained difference between IT and Computer Science.

NotMeNoNo Sat 14-Jan-17 12:07:15

I thought IT GCSE was being axed actually. I have one of those geeky sons who was worried until we explained difference between IT and Computer Science.

noblegiraffe Sat 14-Jan-17 12:08:33

I don't think it would be advisable to take GCSE music if you are not a musician, because of the performing and composing elements.

Computer science should be fine though, if she is good at maths.

lljkk Sat 14-Jan-17 12:14:19

DD is only girl in computing GCSE class.
IIRC, there was only one girl in computing GCSE when DS took it (last yr).
DS can build/rebuild a computer & likes military strategy games best; he's not a Geek really, either.

tbf, We are a sporty geeky family. DD asks DH computer questions which seem incredibly basic to me...

DD is a fashionista, social butterfly, very confident, over achiever, ferocious opinions about minority rights, has greedy streak, wants to become head girl. Toying with law or medicine in future. She quite likes TBBT (which I loathe). She likes science, esp. chemistry right now, but by my only mildly geeky standards, is very much Not A Geek.

lljkk Sat 14-Jan-17 12:15:45

tbf... DD probably chose computing partly because her dad can always advise! They have long Python conversations.

MsAwesomeDragon Sat 14-Jan-17 12:42:02

My dd did computer science GCSE last year. She got an A. She's quite geeky, but not massively into computers, more maths and physics as her interests. She was one of 2 girls in her computing class, which didn't bother her at all, but it is something which puts some girls off (which is one of the reasons why so few girls do it, because they all think they'd be the only girl in the class, not realising that there are another 10 girls thinking the same thing and none of them ultimately choose it sad )

Music would be a concern if she's not particularly musical. My school recommends that you are taking lessons (voice counts, it's an instrument), and are grade 4 standard (but don't have to have taken the exam) at the start of y 10. So it might be worth finding out from her singing teacher what sort of standard she is now, if grade 4 or higher then go for it, grade 3 ish them think carefully, grade 1/2 don't bother because it's too much work to improve enough to get a high grade.

titchy Sat 14-Jan-17 12:42:46

Your dd sings, so she can complete the performance elements of music. What on earth is your ds going to do for the performance components? She sounds a far more typical music student than he does!

SurelyYoureJokingMrFeynman Sat 14-Jan-17 12:43:18

My thought is that this is GCSE. It's not like she's choosing 'A'-levels where she would need that higher level of interest and ability that her brother seems to have.

So if it's not displacing some other subject she's keen on and would excel in, then why NOT do Computer Science? It's fine for her to be middle of the road at it - someone's got to be!

And of course she might turn out to be quite good, just not into it as a hobby.

Blu Sat 14-Jan-17 12:48:57

There is quite a bit of course work for both.
Dc, doing v well in maths / further maths is regretting doing Computer Science and finds it boring.
What is she likely to want to study for A level?

Evergreen777 Sat 14-Jan-17 12:50:13

I have a similar DD to yours, who's also considering both subjects for her options. And like you I have an older geeky son who programmes for fun. Yet DD gets glowing reports from her computing teacher and seems to learn what she's taught effortlessly. I'm don't think she's likely to do it beyond GCSE though and can't see how much use it would be otherwise as she's not keen on science.

Her school wants them to be Grade 4 standard to do GCSE music, though DD will have Grade 3 singing soon so will just about be there assuming singing is OK. It is hard for her to decide, and she too looks at her DB and is aware that she doesn't have his passion for computing. She has a fabulous ear for music but lacks formal training really - can't read music well and no interest in the theory. She might decide not to do either subject and do geography instead.

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