OCR exam board apparently removes Controlled Assessments from GCSE Computing, via @tonyparkin

Updated 1 July 2014 2.30pm – the OCR has agreed to let students continue with their controlled assessments. More information available at http://www.ocr.org.uk/i-want-to/subject-information-updates/# (look for July 2014 » + GCSE Computing (from 2012) – UPDATE)


Updated 30 June 2014 1.30pm – the OCR will contact centres tomorrow to give their final decision.


— Original post below —

A few excerpts from the post OCR assessment shock hits GCSE Computing students are included below; there is a lot of Twitter discussion on the #withdrawnCA hashtag.

“In a major blow to thousands of students taking the OCR’s Computing GCSE, the exam board has withdrawn the controlled assessment task for June 2015 that many of them have already completed – and in some cases have already submitted.”

“In a surprise twist just after 9am this morning (Monday June 30), the notification letter was suddenly taken down from the OCR website, without any explanation. Whether this marks a shift in thinking at OCR, or merely means that the letter was posted too early online, as indicated by its curious July dateline, will no doubt emerge shortly.”

“As news of the letter reached the teachers involved, a storm broke online as they took to social media and web forums to discuss their reactions over the weekend. Prominent among them was Drew Buddie, well-known as @digitalmaverick on Twitter, who has started the #withdrawnCA hashtag to bring together the online discussion, and offer support from NAACE. Drew is currently Naace senior vice chair on its board of management.”

Further reading
Computing assessment scrapped amid fears of cheating (30 June 2014) tesconnect.




Free computing workshop, Goldsmiths 8-9 July, for KS2 & Y7 teachers, w Paul Curzon

How to use Scratch and unplugged activities to teach programming concepts


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The text below is taken from the accompanying PDF flyer:  8-9July ScratchWorkshopNew

The National Curriculum for Computing involves a large amount of new content, namely programming that will be particularly challenging for KS2 –KS4 teachers. It is acknowledged that teachers will need support to acquire the necessary subject knowledge and skills to deliver this discipline.

This workshop aims to equip you with a good understanding of programming concepts and computational thinking, offering practical ways to teach the related KS2 programmes of study. It is suitable for teachers new to Scratch.

The workshop is part of the ‘Programming 4 Teachers’ project, funded by the Mayor’s Office to trial a CPD model for teaching KS1-3 teachers computer programming concepts, knowledge and skills as well as the trial of teaching resources and pedagogy. Zali Collymore-Hussein is one of the lead trainers on the project.

The ‘Programming 4 Teachers’ resource pack will be available free to delegates attending the workshop.

Complete the attached booking form and email to: TEACHERSCENTRE@GOLD.AC.UK


The workshop will take place at Goldsmiths University of London, Education Building, New Cross, London SE14 6NW
Map details: http://www.gold.ac.uk/find-us/

Course Outline

8th July 2014

•  Teaching Computing Unplugged to Young Children – Professor Paul Curzon
Computational thinking is a fundamental skill set that students learn by studying computing. We will demonstrate a range of activities that show how core ideas and concepts can be introduced using fun unplugged activities, games and magic tricks. We will show that computing can be fun for everyone and that it doesn’t have to be taught at a computer. Supporting resources are available at www.teachinglondoncomputing.org.

Introducing programming fundamentals through interactive games made in Scratch – Zali Collymore-Hussein
Suitable for years 4-5. Create programs that implement algorithms to achieve given goals that contains loops, comparative operators, randomized values, variables and if selections. Makey Makey can be used to interact with a game to add a mix of fun and science.

9th July 2014

• Deepen understanding of programming concepts through interactive quizzes made in Scratch – Zali Collymore-Hussein
Suitable for years 5-6. Create programs using procedural abstraction, post tested loops, multiple variables, arithmetic operators and ‘if, else’ selections.

• Tackling Control Projects using Scratch and Raspberry Pi – Zali Collymore-Hussein

Paul Curzon’s biography
Paul Curzon is a Professor of Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London. He runs cs4fn / Computer Science for Fun (www.cs4fn.org) through which he has been enthusing school students about interdisciplinary computer science worldwide for over 10 years. He is also co-Director of ‘Teaching London Computing’ (www.teachinglondoncomputing.org) developing inspiring activities for computing teachers to use in class. He is a UK National Teaching Fellow in recognition of his excellence in teaching and outreach. He also leads research in the area of human computer interaction and verification focussing on making medical devices safer.

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For primary school computing teachers: Barefoot Computing website now live & competition

From the Computing At School website’s news page:

Barefoot Computing CAS


“The Barefoot Computing project is about helping primary school teachers get ready for the computer science element of the new computing curriculum.”

The website is now live at http://barefootcas.org.uk/ and they’re running a competition “for primary school pupils to design a mascot for the Barefoot Computing Project. There are iPads to be won! The closing date is 23rd June and more information can be found here. ”