Differentiation

The Leaving Certificate Computer Science specification is differentiated to cater for students of differing abilities and levels of achievement.

Differentiation through the learning outcomes of the specification

Ordinary level Higher level

Only the learning outcomes presented in normal type.

Students engage with a broad range of knowledge, mainly concrete in nature, but with some elements of abstraction or theory. They will be expected to demonstrate and use a moderate range of practical and cognitive skills and tools and to plan and develop simple investigative strategies. They will be expected to select from a range of procedures and apply known solutions to a variety of problems in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts. They will design and produce computational artefacts that serve a useful purpose.

All learning outcomes including those in bold type.

Students engage with a broad range of knowledge, including theoretical concepts and abstract thinking, with significant depth in some areas. They will be expected to demonstrate and use a broad range of specialised skills and tools to evaluate and use information, to plan and develop investigative strategies, and to determine solutions to varied, unfamiliar problems. They will be expected to identify and apply skills and knowledge in a wide variety of both familiar and unfamiliar contexts. They will design and produce computational artefacts that serve a useful purpose.

Differentiation in teaching and learning

Students vary in the amount and type of support they need to be successful. The use of strategies for differentiated learning, such as adjusting the level of skills required, varying the amount and the nature of teacher intervention, and varying the pace and sequence of learning will allow students to interact at their own level.

Differentiation in assessment

Assessment of Leaving Certificate Computer Science will be based on the learning outcomes in the specification. The computer-based, end-of-course examination will be assessed at two levels, Higher and Ordinary. At Higher level, all the learning outcomes will be assessed including those presented in bold type. At Ordinary level, only those learning outcomes that are presented in normal type will be assessed. Examination questions will require candidates to demonstrate knowledge, understanding, application, analysis, and evaluation appropriate to each level. Differentiation at the point of assessment will also be achieved through the depth and complexity of the questions and tasks, the stimulus material used, and the extent of the structured support provided for examination candidates at different levels.

Time allocation

Computer science is designed for 180 hours of class contact time. Meeting each learning outcome will be achieved through an interweaving of all three strands, and through a balance of theoretical learning, applied learning (through both the four applied learning tasks and tasks set by the teacher), problem-based learning and project management.