New Pearson Edexcel Computer Science qualification will see written exam replaced with first UK practical onscreen assessment to reflect real-life programming in the modern world.
London, UK - A new Computer Science GCSE that aims to develop young people’s digital skills for the future has been released today by the world’s learning company, Pearson.
Pupils who enrol on the pioneering new qualification from September this year, will learn coding, programming and algorithm skills, and be the first to have their computational skills graded through a practical onscreen assessment rather than solely through written examinations, as is currently the case.
Roberta Thomson, Product Director of General Qualifications at Pearson said:
At Pearson, we’re committed to ensuring that young people in schools today are learning the skills they need for their futures. Our new Pearson Edexcel Computer Science GCSE has a focus on real-life programming, equipping learners with both the knowledge and hands-on application to thrive in the fast-changing world of technology today. As part of this, we are proud to be the first to move from paper to computer to assess students’ digital and practical skills, as well as more accurately reflect the technological society in which they live.
The new Pearson Edexcel Computer Science GCSE 2020 was produced in collaboration with teachers and the computer science community, who have helped shape the practical and engaging nature of the specification to ensure students develop the employability skills needed for their future careers.
The qualification comes at a time when the UK economy is facing a digital skills shortage, as highlighted by the Government in their No Longer Optional: Employer Demand for Digital Skills report. It revealed how digital skills are becoming near-universal requirements for employment in the UK and yet almost half of employers say they are struggling to attract talent with the right IT skills.
Speaking about the new qualification and what it means for industry, Matt Hogan, Learning Manager KS4 at Raspberry Pi Foundation, said:
The practical onscreen assessment approach will prepare students well for eventual employment because it gives an opportunity for the learner to be assessed on writing, testing, and refining programs in an IDE using Python 3. Being given two hours to complete a task also relates well to the real-life time constraints experienced by many Computer Scientists.
While the new qualification has an emphasis on coding, programming and the practical application of the subject, it also provides a combination of written and theoretical elements to provide a rounded learning experience. Of the two externally examined papers, one is a written paper that focuses on computational thinking, data, computers, networks, and the issues and impact of computing in the world today, while the other is a practical onscreen assessment, which focuses on the ability to analyse and solve problems by designing, writing, testing and refining programs.
Pete Dring from Fulford School shared his view on the new qualification:
It's great that there's now a GCSE course for teachers and students who think practical programming should be externally assessed and count towards the final grade. The theory part of the spec has been clarified and simplified. I've been so impressed by how the Pearson Edexcel team have responded to teacher feedback to make this course as accessible as possible.
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