More GCSE Thoughts

Today I took a trip up to Newcastle for my official ICT GCSE 2010 session with OCR (and am still on the train back as I type this up, so my thoughts haven’t had long to formulate yet). On first glance I was equally taken with the WJEC and OCR offerings and much less impressed with AQA and Edexcel. My HoD had similar thoughts and expressed a preference for OCR – so off I popped.

The course leader was not an OCR salesman as I expected, but was a teacher from the chalkface who is employed by OCR (so yes, still a salesman – but not the detached type I was expecting).

I won’t go through the finer details, but the session had positives and negatives for me. Amongst the positives were a clarification on what is meant by ‘controlled assessment’ (I’ll comment on whether I think what I learned was positive in my next post I think, but the fact it was clarified is good) and a little more detail on each of the units that will be run. Amongst the negatives, I didn’t learn *much* beyond what was in the documentation already available. The course leader appeared to be explaining what was already there with a few insider tidbits – so a course for the moderately pro-active really.

There was quite a bit of discussion from the delegate side of the bench about the 2nd exam (B053 for those in the know) which apparently is being organised by the examiner of the current OCR Spec B course. As such, we will get a pre-release document each September in preparation for the January and June exams that will have a bullet point list of areas to explore (10 on the exemplar provided). The exam will then expect students to have researched those topics, but if you have a different interpretation of the somewhat vague bullet point (e.g. the use of Web2.0 technologies to facilitate the creation of shared resources) then your students could find themselves in bother. A couple of people described the exam papers as being ‘off the wall’, while the course leader described the examiner as a ‘blue sky thinker’ (I can already hear the grumblings from the TES forumites).

Overall – I like that there is a coding unit. I like that we won’t have to do 4 identical (but different) coursework projects, that we will be given problems rather than having each student invent their own and that whether you choose Multimedia or Coding – you don’t have to do the whole bloody course in MS Office (or OOo).

Sadly, there is still coursework I mean ‘controlled assessment’, which will almost undoubtedly require oodles and boodles of screenshots (the course leader was quick to point out that is states ‘evidence’ – but it’s hard to see what other evidence OCR and QCA will be willing to accept). But then, you can;t have everything…


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