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Computer Science

Course Description

Computer science requires an understanding of the fundamental concepts of computational thinking as well as knowledge of how computers and other digital devices operate.

The Diploma Programme computer science course is engaging, accessible, inspiring and rigorous. It has the following characteristics:

  • draws on a wide spectrum of knowledge
  • enables and empowers innovation, exploration and the acquisition of further knowledge
  • interacts with and influences cultures, society and how individuals and societies behave
  • raises ethical issues
  • is underpinned by computational thinking.

Computational thinking involves the ability to:

  • think procedurally, logically, concurrently, abstractly, recursively and think ahead
  • utilize an experimental and inquiry-based approach to problem-solving
  • develop algorithms and express them clearly
  • appreciate how theoretical and practical limitations affect the extent to which problems can be solved computationally.

During the course the student will develop computational solutions. This will involve the ability to:

  • identify a problem or unanswered question
  • design, prototype and test a proposed solution liaise with clients to evaluate the success of the proposed solution and make recommendations for future developments.

Prior Learning and Distinction between Higher and Standard Level

The school currently offers this subject at Higher Level only.

The study of computer science at HL demands a higher level of problem-solving skills and the ability to understand and manipulate abstract concepts. Although no previous knowledge of computer science is required, some exposure to programming is desirable.

Students at HL are required to study additional topics in the core, a case study and also extension material of a more demanding nature in the option chosen.

Syllabus Outline

The core topics that must be studied, including some practical work, are:

  • Topic 1: System fundamentals
  • Topic 2: Computer organization
  • Topic 3: Networks
  • Topic 4: Computational thinking, problem-solving and programming

The Higher Level extension topics relating to the core are:

  • Topic 5: Abstract data structures
  • Topic 6: Resource management
  • Topic 7: Control

Additional subject content will be introduced at HL by the annually issued case study.

Finally, students study one of the following options:

Option A: Databases
Option B: Modeling and simulation
Option C: Web science
Option D: Object-oriented programming (OOP)

Objectives

Having followed the Diploma Programme course in Computer Science, students will be expected to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of specified content, methods, terminology.
  • Apply and use relevant facts and concepts, relevant design methods and techniques, appropriate communication methods to present information.
  • Construct, analyse, evaluate and formulate success criteria, solution specifications including task outlines, designs and test plans, appropriate techniques with a specified solution
  • Demonstrate the personal skills of cooperation and perseverance as well as appropriate technical skills for effective problem solving in developing a specified product.

Course Assessment

The final Diploma grade in the subject is determined by two assessment components:

External

Paper 1, which consists of two compulsory sections:

Section A consists of several compulsory short answer questions
Section B consists of five compulsory structured questions.

Paper 2, which is linked to the option studied.
Paper 3, which consists of four compulsory questions based on a pre-seen case study.

Internal Assessment

a) The development of a computational solution, including a product and a 2,000 word written
supporting documentation.
b) The group 4 Project, a collaborative activity where students from different group 4 subjects
work together and are assessed using the criterion of Personal skills.

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