Most Able - Computing
Most Able Computer Science
In the Computer Science Curriculum area we aim to raise achievement for all students. Each student needs to develop the skills and attributes required to take an active and valuable part in their local, national and global society.
At Key Stage 3 there is a greater focus on practical skill and ability. However, at GCSE/Key Stage 4 level it is important that both a student’s practical skill and subject knowledge are detailed and high quality.
We aim to stretch all children, academically, to achieve their full potential. The key element in our teaching and learning is to provide a challenging Curriculum aimed at the Most Able but made accessible to all students by tailored differentiation which enables them to uncover their full talents and ambitions.
The characteristics/criteria for a MA student in Computer Science
Most Able is the terms applied to young people who are achieving or have the potential to achieve at a level significantly beyond the rest of their peer group. As with every individual, Most Able students have their own strengths and weaknesses. A student may be very able in some areas but may be underachieving or appear on the SEND register in recognition of behavioural, social, physical, sensory or specific learning difficulties. The DfE and Ofsted define the Most Able in terms of those whose progress significantly exceeds age related expectations. Exceptionally able pupils are those who have the capacity to achieve or perform at the very highest levels.
Teachers need to consider the potential of students as well as their current performance. It is important that teachers should aim to provide frequent opportunities for able students to show their potential. Students will reveal talents at different stages of maturity and often in relation to different aspects of the subject. Identification should be through using a wide range of evidence much of which is likely to be informal. High ability does not always result in high attainment. Some able students may fail to achieve because they are not stimulated or challenged in the classroom. Others may be inclined to conceal their ability because of social pressures. It is therefore vital that we use all available means to ascertain our Most Able students. However we should always avoid the temptation of nominating a very hard working, conscious student as it is no substitution for being Most Able in Computer Science.
In the Computer Science Curriculum Area we regard our Most Able students as possessing expertise in a developmental stage.
- Students demonstrate a capability significantly above that expected for their age in computing.
- Students demonstrate their understanding exceptionally well in planning and evaluation tasks – They may do much better with written work compared to their Computing skills.
- Students explore independently beyond the given breadth of a Computing topic.
- Students show evidence of getting on to the extension activities quickly where they challenge their understanding at a more complex level.
- Transfer and apply IT/ Computing and computational skills and techniques confidently in new contexts
- A student will initiate ideas and solve problems, use computational devices effectively and creatively and develop systems that meet their personal needs and interests.
- They are very interested in using computers out of school and may have developed applications and or repaired/upgraded computational devices.
- Students learn and apply new Computing and IT techniques quickly.
- Students have high levels of computing and IT skills above expected for their age and require limited input from the teacher to be successful with new applications and techniques.
- Students will be able to use computational thinking techniques to solve problems.
- Make sound judgements.
- Think quickly and accurately.
- Work systematically.
Opportunities for MA students within the Curriculum and extra-curricular opportunities
Teaching and Learning
The Curriculum map, Knowledge organizers and schemes of work have been written to consider the abilities of all students. In Computer Science, there are opportunities to develop analytical skills in computational terms as well as the ability to think creatively, innovatively, logically, critically and develop evaluative skills by applying knowledge to new situations which will stretch the most able students. Explicit differentiation should be planned for these students in every lesson, using extension tasks where possible.
In order to challenge students who are able in Computer Science, teachers should set activities that expect students to use a range of skills, accurately and efficiently, provide for a higher level of analysis, evaluative and creative thinking that leads to more advanced thinking.
An effective classroom environment will deliver pace, breadth and depth in teaching and learning and challenge through differentiation by content, learning process and outcome. The identified Most Able student will normally work within a peer group or be given specific opportunities for them to allow extra challenge to take place.
Extension and enrichment activities are built into all programmes of study together with the opportunities for differentiation by outcome, pace, task and resources, dialogue and support in work and homework. Teachers use a variety of ways to push students such as using challenging questions, mini projects, and allowing students to research the advanced features of software and even learn a new programming language. This is very important at Key Stage 4 when project work allow each student to use their skills and creativity to the full. Students can be expected to be challenged about their approach in their tasks in order to encourage them to justify their choices and try alternative techniques.
Enriching and Extending Students' Experiences
In addition to students’ subject studies, students also embark upon several additional programs and opportunities that have been designed to challenge students further intellectually and to provide a practical and transferrable skillset in Computer Science to enhance their wider understanding of the subject.
These are as follows:
External speakers: Bedfordshire Police are invited to speak to students about Cyber Protect and Prevention. The workshop is designed to demonstrate to students how Computing skills are used by the Police to deal with Cyber Crime. It also introduces students to many websites and challenges they can take part in.
16X16 Vocational workshop: Year 10 students attend a whole day Computing Programming and Cyber Security workshop at Barnfield College. Students take part in practical activities designed to them develop key skills required in programming and cyber security careers, as well as a chance to tour the campus and get a taste of life at FE college.
Educational Visits: Year 10 students have visited University of Bedfordshire to attend a Computer Science Taster Day. The event included various workshops from coding to robotics. Students were required to work in groups which allowed students to develop their team working skills and communication skills. The event also provided the students with an understanding of the Computing field.
Students will be regularly assessed and set targets by Computer Science teachers and all students will be encouraged to take an active part in any discussion of their current achievements and projected progress. The success criteria for Most Able students will be to set and achieve ambitious targets at identified stages in their education. Such targets should be both quantitative (e.g. grades) and qualitative (e.g. leadership, participation).
In addition to enriched and extended schemes of work, the following strategies are used to help realise the potential of Most Able students:
- The regular monitoring and reporting of individual student performance as part of normal departmental procedures.
- Promotion of extra reading through Computer.org where students can subscribe to particular areas of Computing magazines.
- Assessment of Computational skills using internal assessment.
- Assessment of Computational understanding using teacher assessment of classwork and homework.
- Assessment of performance compared to other students in their cohort.
- Recognition, celebration and rewarding of achievement of all students within the department via a recognised reward system on a termly basis.
- Continuing professional development of staff which addresses the implications of Most Able students in teaching and learning.
Such provision will form part of the Curriculum Plan annually and will be evaluated each academic year.
At the start of each academic year the register of Most Able pupils will be available for computing staff to edit. If a teacher identifies a Most Able learner using the criteria previously outlined, their name should be added to this register if they consistently demonstrate their Computing capability to a high standard.
What parents can do to help their MA child in Computer Science
In order to help support your child, we ask the following:
- Help your child create a simple revision plan for the week. You don’t need to plan every minute however you do need to plan a week. The key principles are:
- How many hours a day will they revise?
- Factor in when they will start, when they will end, lunch, and then they need breaks.
- And what will they revise?
- A day off in the week?
- Are they still at school?
- Testing your child is a very effective exam revision strategy because it ‘forces’ your child to dig into their memory and recall what they have learnt. The science behind testing is undisputed and can significantly increase your child’s retention of information. You can question your child from flashcards, a revision booklet, their exercise book, their mind map. Anything that has the information.
- Extending knowledge of the world and encouraging discussion. Talk through your day and your child’s day, and encourage active family discussions. Discuss the news, current affairs and introduce an interesting fact or topic of the week.
- Developing language. Read with your children, and to them, as often as possible, even if they are already good readers. Able children enjoy learning new words – so have a new Computer Science word of the day or week at home using the Glossary documents students have been provided with at school.
- Take an active interest in their school work (including homework via Show My Homework)
- Visit museums, galleries and exhibitions.
- Provide a suitable range of information/resource material to study from (use the reading list above as a guide).
Reading ListOCR GCSE(9-1) Computer Science (S Robson and PM Heathcote)
- Build strong knowledge and skills with this Student Book from OCR's Publishing Partner for GCSE Computer Science; fully updated by subject experts for the J276 specification, it provides comprehensive content coverage and assessment activities.
GCSE Computer Science OCR Complete Revision & Practice - Grade 9-1 (with Online Edition)
- There’ll be no crashing in the Grade 9-1 GCSE OCR Computer Science exams with this fantastic Complete Revision & Practice guide. Everything’s explained in our clear, friendly style, and there are plenty of warm-up questions and exam-style questions (with answers) to test students’ understanding of each topic. What’s more the book is rounded off with a set of practice papers — perfect preparation for the real thing!
Grade 9-1 GCSE Computer Science OCR Revision Question Cards
- There are 64 cards in the pack, covering every Grade 9-1 OCR topic. Each one starts off with quick warm up questions, followed by harder questions to really test them. Questions cover computer systems, networks, issues, algorithms, programming and data representation. Amazing! Flip the card over and you’ll find full answers to each question, carefully written to help students understand everything they need to know. Plus, there's a revision tip on each card!
A website that has a wealth of resources ranging from the latest ICT news to education games – fun for all students. This website cover GCSE Computer Science. Students who take GCSE Computing will be given login details for the website.
A really useful website for students studying Computer Science at KS3 and KS4. Full of revision materials, test yourself quizzes and video clips to enhance and compliment lessons.
A fantastic website for students, providing them free access to notes, presentations, links, code examples and many more for GCSE Computer Science.
This is another superb website that students can use to learn how to code. The website features mini projects designed to be completed in an hour and aims to get students coding as quickly as possible.
This is an online magazine aimed at teenagers with an interest in Computer Science and aims to show the fun and intriguing side to delight its readers.
Students are encouraged to look for coding websites to help them develop their programming skills at KS4.
Although aimed at A Level Computer Science, this website provides students the opportunity to further develop their Computer Science knowledge by covering each topic in more detail. Students are able to study in their own pace, track their progress as they answer questions, work towards achieving better exam results and access high quality materials written by experienced teachers.
Matrix Challenge is a FREE Cyber Security challenge created and organised by the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Cyber Crime Unit, and is available to all 11-17 year olds. There are 5 elements tested: The Computer Misuse Act 1990, staying safe online, steganography, python coding and cipher. The challenge is designed to test digital skills and encourage the development of abilities that would enable a career in the cyber security landscape.
The Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, known as iDea, is an international programme that helps students to develop and demonstrate their digital, enterprise and employability skills for free. Through a series of online challenges, students can win career-enhancing badges, unlock new opportunities and, ultimately, gain industry recognised Awards that help them stand out from the crowd.