GCSE Computer Science updated specification and SAMS for 2022

Friday 13 Dec 2019

In January this year, Ofqual asked all exam boards to assess GCSE Computer Science programming skills by exam only from 2022. Students starting the course from September 2020 won’t need to complete a programming project as part of their assessment as this will be removed from the specification.

We’ve updated the specification content and assessment materials so that it meets Ofqual’s criteria. There aren’t any significant content changes and the new specification is broadly similar to the previous specification. We also listened to your feedback and made a few other minor changes.

Changes for 2022 – what’s new?

  • We’ll use a paper-based exam for the assessment of programming skills so all schools can access our qualifications, no matter the resources they have available. We’re confident that the paper-based assessment will produce fair and valid results.
  • Students are able to respond to the assessment in one of three programming languages C#, Python or VB.net. We’ve chosen these three languages because they offer continuity with our current specification and provide a good grounding for further study. These languages are stable and above all free to access. We’re confident that we can set exams that are a similar level of demand across all three of these languages and we’ll be able to mark and award the assessments fairly.
  • Paper 1 assessment: duration is increased by 30 mins (from 1 hour 30 mins to 2 hours), marks have increased from 80 to 90. We’ve done this to provide more thinking time for students in the exam, allowing them to prepare their answers.
  • Paper 2 assessment: duration is increased by 15 mins (from 1 hour 30 mins to 1 hour 45 mins) marks have increased from 80 to 90.
  • We’ve added ‘Relational databases and SQL’ to the specification and have removed the section on ‘Aspects of software development’.

The updated specification for first teaching September 2020 is available and has a new code (8525) and front cover image. Sample assessment materials (SAMS) can be found in assessment resources.

We’re currently updating our teaching guides and other resources and these will be available on our website in the new year 2020.