specification
OCR GCSE in Computing J275 
(Pilot)
version 1 February 2010
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Why choose OCR GCSE Computing?
A modern course for a modern world 
This is a course that has real relevance in our modern world. While learners will no doubt already have some 
knowledge of computers and related areas, the course will give them an in-depth understanding of how 
computer technology works and a look at what goes on “behind the scenes”. As part of this, they will investigate 
computer programming, which many learners find interesting. 
The fun of computing 
Through this study of computer programming, the course will help learners develop critical thinking, analysis 
and problem solving skills. For many, it’ll be a fun and interesting way to develop these skills, which can be 
transferred to other subjects and even applied in day-to-day life. 
In this way, the course will stimulate interest and engagement with technology and technology-related careers. 
Looking to the future 
In fact, information technologies continue to have a growing importance. This means there will be a bigger 
demand for professionals who are qualified in this area. If learners want to go on to higher study and 
employment in the field of Computer Science, they will find that this course provides a superb stepping stone. 
Learners who have taken a Computing GCSE and who then progress to study the subject at A Level or university 
will have a sound underpinning knowledge of this subject area. 
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©OCR2010GCSEComputingFebruary2010
QAN500/8291/7
OCRGCSEinComputing(Pilot)–J275
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2
©OCR2010GCSEComputingFebruary2010
Contents
1
IntroductiontoGCSEComputing
4
2
ContentofGCSEComputing
6
1.1
OverviewofOCRGCSEComputing
4
1.2
Aimsandlearningoutcomes
5
1.3
GuidedLearningHours
5
2.1
UnitA451:Computersystemsandprogramming
6
2.2
UnitA452:Practicalinvestigation
12
2.3
UnitA453:Programmingproject
14
3
AssessmentofGCSEComputing
16
3.1
OverviewoftheassessmentinGCSEComputing
16
3.2
Tiers
16
3.3
Assessmentobjectives
17
3.4
Gradingandawardinggrades
18
3.5
Gradedescriptions
19
3.6
Qualityofwrittencommunication
20
4
ControlledAssessmentinGCSEComputing
21
4.1
Controlledassessmenttasks
21
4.2
Planningandmanagingcontrolledassessment
22
4.3
Markingandmoderatingcontrolledassessment
23
4.4
SubmittingthemoderationsamplesviatheOCRRepository
25
5
SupportforGCSEComputing
26
5.1
FreeresourcesavailablefromtheOCRwebsite
26
5.2
Otherresources
26
5.3
Training
26
5.4
OCRsupportservices
26
6
AccesstoGCSEComputing
27
6.1
DisabilityDiscriminationActinformationrelatingtoGCSEComputing
27
6.2
Arrangementsforcandidateswithparticularrequirements
27
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3
©OCR2010GCSEComputingFebruary2010
Contents
7
Administrationof GCSEComputing
28
7.1
Availabilityofassessment
28
7.2
Makingentries
28
7.3
Terminalrule
29
7.4
Unitandqualificationre-sits
29
7.5
Enquiriesaboutresults
29
7.6
Shelf-lifeofunits
30
7.7
Prohibitedqualificationsandclassificationcode
30
8
OtherinformationaboutGCSEComputing
31
8.1
Overlapwithotherqualifications
31
8.2
Progressionfromthisqualification
31
8.3
Avoidanceofbias
31
8.4
CodeofPractice/Commoncriteriarequirements/Subjectcriteria
31
8.5
Language
31
8.6
Spiritual,moral,ethical,social,legislative,economicandculturalissues
31
8.7
Sustainabledevelopment,healthandsafetyconsiderationsandEuropean
32
developments,consistentwithinternationalagreements
8.8
KeySkills
32
AppendixA: Guidancefortheproductionofelectroniccontrolled
33
assessment
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4
©OCR2010GCSEComputingFebruary2010
1
1 IntroductiontoGCSEComputing
UnitA451
Computersystemsandprogramming
Writtenpaper:
Candidatesanswerall
questions.
1.5hours
80marks
40%ofthequalification
Candidatesanswerallquestions.QPthatincludesamixtureof
shortandlonganswerquestions,someofwhichwillrequire
candidatestowriteprogramcode.
Candidatescarryoutapracticalinvestigationofatopicchosen
fromasetofoptionssuppliedbyOCR.
Candidatescreatesolutionstocomputingtaskschosenfromaset
ofoptionssuppliedbyOCR.
UnitA452
Practicalinvestigation
Controlledassessment
Aninvestigativetask
Approx20hours
45marks
30%ofthequalification
1.1
Overviewof OCRGCSEComputing
and
and
UnitA453
Programmingproject
Controlledassessment
Approx20hours
45marks
30%ofthequalification
5
©OCR2010GCSEComputingFebruary2010
1
1.2
Aimsandlearningoutcomes
GCSEspecificationsinComputingshouldencouragelearnerstobeinspired,movedandchallenged
byfollowingacoherent,satisfyingandworthwhilecourseofstudy.Theyshouldhelplearnerstogain
aninsightintorelatedsectors.Theyshouldpreparelearnerstomakeinformeddecisionsaboutfurther
learningopportunitiesandcareerchoices.
GCSEspecificationsinComputingmustenablelearnersto:
developtheirunderstandingofcurrentandemergingtechnologies,understandingofhowthey
workandapplythisknowledgeandunderstandinginarangeofcontexts
acquireandapplyaknowledge,sometechnicalskillsandanunderstandingoftheuseof
algorithmsincomputerprogramstosolveproblemsusingprogramming
usetheirknowledgeandunderstandingofcomputertechnologytobecomeindependentand
discerningusersofICT,abletomakeinformeddecisionsaboutitsuse,andawareofthe
implicationsofdifferenttechnologies
acquireandapplycreativeandtechnicalskills,knowledgeandunderstandingofICTinarangeof
contexts
developcomputerprogramstosolveproblems
developtheskillstoworkcollaboratively
evaluatetheeffectivenessofcomputerprograms/solutionsandtheimpactofandissuesrelatedto
theuseofcomputertechnologyinsociety.
1.3
Guidedlearninghours
GCSEComputingrequires120–140guidedlearninghours.
Thisunitcoversthebodyofknowledgeaboutcomputersystemsonwhichtheexaminationwillbe
based.
6
©OCR2010GCSEComputingFebruary2010
2
2.1
UnitA451:
Computersystemsandprogramming
Thistopicintroducescomputersystemsandprovidesafoundationfortheremainingtopicsinthisunit.
Candidatesshoulddevelopamentalmodelofacomputersystemwhichcompriseshardwareand
softwareandinwhich:
dataisinputandconvertedintothecomputer’sinternalrepresentationbyinputdevices
thedataisprocessed
theresultsoftheprocessingareconvertedfromthecomputer’sinternalrepresentationandoutput
byanoutputdevice
thedatamaybestoredforlateruseortransmittedtoanothercomputersystemwhileitisstillin
thecomputer’sinternalrepresentation.
Thismodelappliestothepersonalcomputer,butcandidatesshouldbeawareofhowitalsoappliesto
equipmentwhichusescomputertechnology.
2.1.1
Fundamentalsofcomputersystems
2 ContentofGCSEComputing
Computersystems
Candidatesshouldbeableto:
(a) defineacomputersystem
(b) describetheimportanceofcomputersystemsinthemodernworld
(c) explaintheneedforreliabilityincomputersystems
(d) explaintheneedforadherencetosuitableprofessionalstandardsinthedevelopment,use
andmaintenanceofcomputersystems
(e) explaintheimportanceofethical,environmentalandlegalconsiderationswhencreating
computersystems.
Candidatesshouldbeabletodefinethetermhardwareandhaveanunderstandingof:
2.1.2
Computinghardware
TheCentralProcessingUnit(CPU)
Candidatesshouldbeableto:
(a) statethepurposeoftheCPU
(b) describethefunctionoftheCPUasfetchingandexecutinginstructionsstoredinmemory
(c) explainhowcommoncharacteristicsofCPUssuchasclockspeed,cachesizeandnumber
ofcoresaffecttheirperformance.
7
©OCR2010GCSEComputingFebruary2010
2
Binarylogic
Candidatesshouldbeableto:
(d) explainwhydataisrepresentedincomputersystemsinbinaryform
(e) understandandproducesimplelogicdiagramsusingtheoperationsNOT,ANDandOR
(f) produceatruthtablefromagivenlogicdiagram.
Memory
Candidatesshouldbeableto:
(g) describethedifferencebetweenRAMandROM
(h) explaintheneedforROMinacomputersystem
(i) describethepurposeofRAMinacomputersystem
(j) explainhowtheamountofRAMinapersonalcomputeraffectstheperformanceofthe
computer
(k) explaintheneedforvirtualmemory
(l) describecachememory
(m) describeflashmemory
(n) discusshowchangesinmemorytechnologiesareleadingtoinnovativecomputerdesigns.
Inputandoutputdevices
Candidatesshouldbeableto:
(o) understandtheneedforinputandoutputdevices
(p) describesuitableinputdevicesforawiderangeofcomputercontrolledsituations
(q) describesuitableoutputdevicesforawiderangeofcomputercontrolledsituations
(r) discussinputandoutputdevicesforuserswithspecificneeds.
Secondarystorage
Candidatesshouldbeableto:
(s) explaintheneedforsecondarystorage
(t) describecommonstoragetechnologiessuchasoptical,magneticandsolidstate
(u) selectsuitablestoragedevicesandstoragemediaforagivenapplicationandjustifytheir
choiceusingcharacteristicssuchascapacity,speed,portability,durabilityandreliability.
8
©OCR2010GCSEComputingFebruary2010
2
Candidatesshouldbeabletodefinethetermsoftwareandhaveanunderstandingof:
2.1.3
Software
Software
Candidatesshouldbeableto:
(a) explaintheneedforthefollowingfunctionsofanoperatingsystem:userinterface,memory
management,peripheralmanagement,multi-taskingandsecurity
(b) describethepurposeanduseofcommonutilityprogramsforcomputersecurity(antivirus,
spywareprotectionandfirewalls),diskorganisation(formatting,filetransfer,and
defragmentation),andsystemmaintenance(systeminformationanddiagnosis,system
cleanuptools,automaticupdating)
(c) discusstherelativemeritsofcustomwritten,offtheshelf,opensourceandproprietary
software.
2.1.4
Representationof dataincomputersystems
Units
Candidatesshouldbeableto:
(a) definethetermsbit,nibble,byte,kilobyte,megabyte,gigabyte,terabyte
(b) understandthatdataneedstobeconvertedintoabinaryformattobeprocessedbya
computer.
Number
Candidatesshouldbeableto:
(c) convertpositivedenarywholenumbers(0-255)into8-bitbinarynumbersandviceversa
(d) addtwo8-bitbinaryintegersandexplainoverflowerrorswhichmayoccur
(e) convertpositivedenarywholenumbers(0-255)into2-digithexadecimalnumbersandvice
versa
(f) convertbetweenbinaryandhexadecimalequivalentsofthesamenumber
(g) explaintheuseofhexadecimalnumberstorepresentbinarynumbers.
Character
Candidatesshouldbeableto:
(h) explaintheuseofbinarycodestorepresentcharacters
(i) explainthetermcharacterset
(j) describewithexamples(forexampleASCIIandUnicode)therelationshipbetweenthe
numberofbitspercharacterinacharactersetandthenumberofcharacterswhichcanbe
represented.
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