In my last post, http://largerama.creativeblogs.net/2011/07/06/newspecideas/ I attempted to ‘start the ball rolling’ on creating a new specification for GCSE ICT that quality teachers of the subject want and despite the lack of responses to these ideas, I am sure there are many out there at least thinking about what they would like such a spec to look like. So, I have drummed my fingers in the meantime and started to recall a concept I considered last year, with a quite different perspective. How about this….
The fundamentals or core issues that all students need to be taught are a compulsory unit of work that all have to study. This should cover a wide range of the topics within the subject and allow students to see the breadth that ICT has. This would be set by the board. To my mind this lends itself to being assessed by exam.
Then instead of being given optional units or prescribed units, teachers of the course decide on projects/coursework they want to deliver to their students and create these themselves. This is the shock horror and head scratching bit for most of you I’m sure.
How’s is that going to work I hear you ask? – Well, let’s think about it…..
- The exam board could assign you a moderator akin to what happens in OCR Nats, iMedia or indeed in most other specs where there is coursework. These moderators would have to report to a lead moderator and be a skilled practitioner of the subject (is that too much to ask?).
- As a teacher of the subject, head of the subject, etc, you decide very early in the course or even prior to commencing teaching it, what coursework you wish your students to do (you could even ask the students!!) and construct a mark scheme to go alongside this. This markscheme will be used to mark your students work when it is complete and submitted.
- Your proposal for coursework and relevant markscheme are sent to the moderator assigned to your centre. He/she judges the quality, range, etc and suggests amendments. This process is followed through until the coursework is agreed.
- Your centre then marks the coursework at the end of the course or when coursework is finished and the moderator samples your work to ensure standard is as it should be.
- Having different coursework strands (e.g. a web design coursework for one group and an app programming unit for another) for groups of students all within one course
- Creating a pool of coursework samples that continually grows as each assignment created by a school and the accompanying markscheme are shared centrally for schools to look at or even just use for themselves if they do not want to create something from scratch
- Having 2 pieces of coursework done like this a course to allow for breadth if you so wish