Welcome to the autumn 2014 newsletter


This newsletter contains details of changes that have been made to the Computing Homework site over the past term.



New exercises

We have added two new exercise sections to the site. Both of these are designed to support the new Computing Curriculum. The first new section is entitled Algorithms and Programs; the second is entitled Computer Files.

Algorithms and Programs contains seven exercises. The Computer Files section contains four exercises. These exercises are listed below:

Algorithms and Programs
1.
What is an Algorithm?
2.
Pseudocode
3.
Flow Charts
4.
Designing Algorithms
5.
Data Structures (insertion sort prep.)
6.
Tracing an Algorithm (insertion sort)
7.
Coding an Algorithm(insertion sort in Python

Computer Files
1.
Introduction
2.
ASCII
3.
Common File Types
4.
Organising Files



Level and Descriptors

National Curriculum levels are no longer required under the new curriculum and schools are now expected to develop their own assessment and reporting language.

To help schools to do this, we are continuing to use levels with respect to the exercises on this site. However, these levels are now linked to the new Computing Curriculum.

Three related examples of levels and descriptors are listed below:

Exercise Title
Level
Descriptor
What is an Algorithm?
(Algorithms and Programs)
4

Understand a key algorithm that reflects computational thinking: They understand and can describe what an algorithm is and give several examples.
Pseudocode
(Algorithms and Programs)
5

Understand a key algorithm that reflects computational thinking: They understand that an algorithm can be defined using pseudocode or flow charts, and that algorithms consist of combinations of simple constructs.
Tracing an Algorithm (insertion sort)
(Algorithms and Programs)
6

Understand a key algorithm that reflects computational thinking: They are able to understand the pseudocode for an insertion sort. They are able to use a trace table to show the changing values of variables for an insertion sort.

We are also providing levels and descriptors for students in a simplified form. Students will see these as they complete exercises.

Examples of levels and simplified descriptors for a student can be seen below:

Jim Smith - homework levels and grades for your exercises


•  You should be aiming to get at least a grade "C" for each exercise.
•   This will show that you are secure at the level for a particular exercise.

  Exercise Title  (Topic) Level Grade Level Descriptor
1
Data capture for surveys
(Charting Data)
4
B
I understood the need for care in framing questions when collecting information.
2
Data types
(Database Construction)
5
A*
I developed an understanding of various data types and their respective storage requirements.
3
Databases
(Database Construction)
4
B
I developed an understanding of database views and the importance of well-structured and ordered data.
4
Desks, Chairs and Cables
(Health and Safety)
5
A
I developed an understanding of how desks, chairs and cables may be the source of accidents and or RSI when working with computers.
5
RSI
(Health and Safety)
5
C
I developed an understanding of how repetitive strain injuries may develop if I use computing devices without taking regular breaks.
6
Using Monitors
(Health and Safety)
5
C
I developed a basic understanding of how monitors work, and how best to use monitors without the risk of developing eye strain.
7
Modelling 4 - holiday
(Modelling)
5
B
I explored the effects of changing the variables in a computer model.
8
Introduction to Python
(Programming: Python)
4
A*
I was given an introduction to a Python program's structural elements.
9
Printing: Enclosing Text
(Programming: Python)
4
A
I was able to explore Python's print function to send output to the screen; I become familiar with Python's error messages.



New Developments

We will be developing additional exercises to support a second sorting algorithm to enable schools to address the following from the Computing Curriculum:

understand several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking [for example, ones for sorting and searching]; use logical reasoning to compare the utility of alternative algorithms for the same problem

We would welcome your suggestions on further developments. To do this, you can either use the suggestions page on the site or you can email directly to:

suggestions