Following the consultation on the requirements for the non-examined assessment for GCSE Computer Science OfQual have recently confirmed what will happen for students sitting the exam from 2022 onwards.
We reported on the consultation and the CAS Assessment Working Group canvassed the views of the CAS Community through the CAS Forum and a series of face to face meetings resulting in this report.
Ofqual stated at the outset that their preferred option would be to examine programming skills through a written examination believing that other forms of assessment are problematic and this is what they have decided to do:
We have concluded that it is not possible to use non-exam assessment in this qualification to assess programming skills in a way that is manageable, reliable and fair. Ofqual
The form of that assessment will be left to the awarding organisations to determine but OfQual encourages them to be innovative in their approach.
Readers are encouraged to a read the paper written by Simon Peyton Jones (Chair, Computing At School) and Tim Oates (Cambridge Assessment) where they make a case for an exam based system.
There is no doubt that the teaching and learning of programming is an essential part of any computer science course and all those taking GCSE should be given opportunity to learn and hone their problem solving skills in this way. It is vital that this change stimulates that activity rather than limits it. It will be interesting to see what the awarding organisations produce to encourage programming and assess their knowledge, skill and understanding of progamming in a meaningful way.