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General Chat Thread, PC Pro's attempts at the ICT GCSE in General; Well, my new PC pro arrived yesterday and I got a round to reading some of it today. There's a ...
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    PC Pro's attempts at the ICT GCSE

    Well, my new PC pro arrived yesterday and I got a round to reading some of it today. There's a VERY interesting column on the state of the ICT GCSE. I'm not going to rewrite the column for you, but suffice to say that the PC Pro team attempted the Higher 2007 paper from the AQA website and the results make interesting reading!

    The past-papers can be found here.

    The web-article detailing the scores, etc can be found here.

    Regards,

    Rob Cowan
    Carrobes IT

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    i took the edexcel one about 4 years ago, but they a practical exam which makes things easier.

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    tech_guy's Avatar
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    Well we all know the teaching of ICT in the UK is a pile of stewed poo. We should be teaching the kids how to use a computer properly and how to program.

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    Gatt's Avatar
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    Our kids are on OCR here - but are guarunteed a pass cos majority (about 90%!) is done for them! so long as they attend classes and any "revision sessions" then they pass!

    Bloody ridiculous IMHO..

    (My personal view and independant from the school!)

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    Friez's Avatar
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    It's always been this diabolical. The course content taught at School/College level in general is quite dumbed down and very easy, but when it comes to the exam you get presented with poorly written ambiguous claptrap or things so stupidly easy that you could probably guess the answer even if you didn't know what a computer actually was.

    My IT GNVQ exams were a joke. Completed them in 10 minutes, spent the remaining 1 hour 50 minutes doodling nice images for the examiner on THE PAGE LEFT INTENTIONALLY BLANK.

    Intentionally blank, probably to give me some space to keep my mind filled while I have to sit in silence for approx 2 sodding hours wasting my life away.

    We're talking mind numbingly easy multiple choice questions that I thought were an april fools joke come late. Example of the intellectual level they tested us on:

    Which of the following is an Input Device?
    A) Squirrel
    B) Mouse
    C) Gerbil
    D) Ferret

    AMAZINGLY some people actually failed that exam which makes me think that we are failing as a species.

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Which of the following is an Input Device?
    A) Squirrel
    B) Mouse
    C) Gerbil
    D) Ferret
    I've had it called a rat a few times too And mouses instead of mice. All this coming from teachers

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    Hightower's Avatar
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    I've had the question "What's the plural for mouse, is it mouses or mice".

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    Ryan's Avatar
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    What's the collective noun for several mice? (computer ones, not furry ones)

    An overindulgence?

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    Its terrible isnt it. But its goes a long way at showing why the kids who leave school/uni with qualifications are absolutly useless at real life work.

    I know myself, and ive been told by many many people, that i am very good at my job, yet i only got a B in ICT at GCSE. 2 mates of mine work for BIG companies, one in computer games and the other for a company who recruited him and took him over to the USA - both these mates didnt do well in ICT at school.

    Ive said it for a very long time, ICT has absolutely feck all to do with computers. And GCSEs have got absolutely feck all to do with intelligence, and means nothing in the real world; I cant remember the last time someone asked me what grade i got in RE/etc at GCSE, can you?

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    richard.thomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I've had it called a rat a few times too And mouses instead of mice. All this coming from teachers

    Mouses is technically correct

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    Friez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    2 mates of mine work for BIG companies, one in computer games
    Hook me up!

    I code games in my spare time (read: virtually no sleep) and I'm far better geared as a programmer than an IT Tech.

    School did nothing for me, University helped a bit but I *really* learned stuff when I joined an open source project and actually made something for real. The problem these days is that most students are in a catch 22: Experienced people only want to hire experienced people, but if you've come out of school you're generally considered inexperienced.

    Thus, Jobs are quite hard to land! (I think this goes a long way to explaining why I'm working in a school pushing toners around when I have a degree and all that lovely stuff )
    Last edited by Friez; 18th June 2008 at 02:43 PM.

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    I gave up GCSE IT,

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    This could explain the reason that a lot of schools are moving away from GCSE ICT to other courses such as ECDL, OCR Nationals and BTECs.

    since the next generation of ICT teachers have come along that are ICT specialists as opposed to people that used to teach other subjects and ended up teaching ICT because the head once saw them turn a computer on.

    Applied ICT is quite possibly one of the most boring courses to teach, is it any wonder that the students hate it as well. give me Computing any day.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    The article made some good points (i.e. GCSE ICT is dull to learn, dull to teach and out of date), but still made the same old error of assuming that GCSE ICT is intended for people going on to do IT-related degrees at university. It's not, it's a general all-round qualification, same as any GCSE - that's the idea of GCSEs, we shouldn't be having people decide on a straight-and-narrow academic career path at 14. If you want to do computer science or similar at university, do maths. Lots of maths. And applied maths (i.e. physics). And applied physics (i.e. chemistry - damn it, life imitates XKCD again!).

    I'm inclined to think the getting-students-ready-for-an-IT-degree attitude is what's got GCSE / A-level ICT into such a mess in the first place. C'mon, A-level ICT - who needs to do database design at A-level? What's the point? If you'll be designing databases for a living you'll be off to do a degree or some further qualification, if not then you really don't need to know. GCSE is at least generally wider in focus, although immensely dull for your average 16 year old, tending to be focussed around office applications (word processing memos, making databases of customers) or office applications dressed up as something interesting (databases of CD collections).

    Right, so with the above said, and to stop this turning into a "Gah! Kids today! No gumption!" kind of post, what would we EduGeek users prefer to see taught at GCSE? Bear in mind that this is a general, wide-level qualification - it's to get 14-16 year-olds thinking about IT in general, and they might go on to do IT stuff further (something vocational at a college if they maybe want to be a IT technician of some kind, or maths at A-level if they want to go do a degree). It should teach children to be critical users of modern IT equipment, able to use computer technology at home and as part of their job (but not to be their whole job, not at GCSE). I'd argue that includes "general office skills" like word processing, but that specific stuff should be left for something like a CLAIT - heck, our school does GCSE at Y10, and the exam is before summer half term. They could whizz through an optional "office skills" CLAIT or similar in the remaining half term after that and be all set for summer jobs and such.

    --
    David Hicks

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    I did my GCSE about 12 years ago, and back then you were taught about the actual workings of a PC, how it all linked together and all the theory surrounding it. I don't think they even cover that sort of information at 'A' level these days.

    My 'A' level course we learnt programming in Pascal and Visual Basic as well as all the theory surrounding how the componants of a PC actually talked at low level, binary counting, how memory registers and the parts of a processor work, quite in depth stuff. I know for a fact they don't cover that sort of stuff until degree courses now. These days it's all about using a PC, and not about how they actually work.

    Mike.

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