3.9 Programming project

3.9.1 Overview Purpose of programming project

The programming project allows students to develop their practical skills in a problem solving context by coding a solution to a given problem and producing a report documenting the development of the solution. The programming project should be treated as a learning experience: allowing students to work independently, over a 20 hour period, extending their programming skills and increasing their understanding of practical, real world applications of computer science.

Additional information can be found in the teachers’ notes which accompany the relevant programming project task.

3.9.2 The task Setting the task

We will set the programming project task: this will be available to schools and colleges on 1 April the year before students are due to sit their exams.

The task will change for each new cohort of students.

It is the responsibility of the teacher to make sure that the correct task is used when preparing their students. Taking the task


The task will comprise of a single project which should be undertaken in a period totalling 20 timetabled hours. When completing the task, students must work independently and produce a unique piece of work.

Students must program in one of the high-level programming languages available for use in this specification.

The completed task will generate a:

  • program designed, written, tested and refined by the student
  • written report.
Each student must produce their own report, in either hard copy or electronic format (saved to CD). The report must show evidence that students have:
  • designed their own solution
  • created a unique solution
  • tested their solution
  • indicated potential enhancements and refinements to their solution. Authentication of students' work


Teachers must be confident that the evidence generated by each student is their own work, that students have had the opportunity to complete it in 20 timetabled hours, and that they can authenticate these conditions (see Supervising and authenticating). It is the school or college's responsibility to ensure that the work submitted for monitoring is that of the student.
  • Students are not allowed to take the programming project home with them.
  • Students are not allowed to take work on the programming project home to complete.

All work presented for submission must have been completed under supervised conditions.

3.9.3 Marking the task

You do not need to mark the work, but you must submit an unmarked sample of your students work for monitoring purposes.

You may choose to mark the task and provide feedback to students to enhance learning, but please do not submit those marks to AQA.

If you do choose to mark the task, you can use the marking criteria in the teacher's notes.