Higher attainment in GCSE computer science - meeting the challenges of the exams - remote - Full day CJ439 / F01

Start date
17 Mar 21
5 Hours
Learning Method
Remote Delivered CPD


This evidence-based CPD aims to raise knowledge amongst teachers of how to achieve the most out of your students, whilst preparing for their GCSE exams in computer science. Whether you’re already teaching computer science or completely new to the subject, this course is designed to support your understanding of how to increase student attainment at GCSE level.

Within this course you’ll learn how examinations are designed and written, the key terminology used in exams and how this should be approached by students. Explore structured methods of teaching towards extended writing and programming exam questions, plus top tips from experienced teachers of how to pick up marks in exam papers.

You’ll also discover the importance and research behind retrieval and interleaved learning, throughout the session you’ll explore example strategies that can be easily embedded within your own teaching practice.

During this course you’ll discover threshold concepts and how the ordering and timing of these concepts can significantly improve student understanding. You’ll explore how progression maps can be used to map the curriculum throughout KS3 and 4, whilst embedding threshold concepts to maximise progress.

By the end of the course you’ll have the foundations of a variety of strategies that can be taken into the classroom, to support raising the attainment of students.

Who is it for?

This course is for current or prospective teachers of GCSE computer science with some understanding of the computing curriculum.

Prior Knowledge:

No prior experience or knowledge of computing is expected before attending this course. It is advised that you become familiar with the National Curriculum in Computing before participating.

Course units:

  • 01 | Understanding the assessment process - This session will outline the structure of how exams are created and marked, the wording of exam questions including how these should be approached by students, how to effectively use mark schemes and examiner reports to fully support students with common misconceptions.
  • 02 | Student performance - During this session you’ll look closer at the research into the performance of students studying GCSE computer science.
  • 03 | Progression from Key Stage 3 to 4 - During this session you will explore threshold concepts and the importance of pin pointing these within the KS3 & 4 curriculum. Explore literacy strategies that can be used to support students around the use of appropriate technical vocabulary.
  • 04 | Retrieval practice – During this session you’ll learn about retrieval practice and how it can be applied within the classroom.
  • 05 | Student recall - with terminal exams it’s important students can recall knowledge to ensure they’re successful in the exams. In this session you’ll examine retrieval strategies further plus interleaving of teaching to better prepare students for examinations.
  • 06 | Picking up the marks in exams - this session will allow you to consider ways that can be used to support students answer different style questions on the exam papers, including extended writing and programming exam questions.

How will you learn?

Scheduled live, interactive online sessions led by an experienced practitioner. Flexible facilitator-supported, participant-led tasks, involving deep exploration of the subject content.

How long is the course?

This course is approximately five hours in duration, split across one day


Session 1 -   9.00am - 10.10am - Remote delivery

Session 2 - 10.10am - 11.00am - Gap task 

Session 3 - 11.00am - 12.00pm - Remote delivery

Session 4 - 12.00pm - 12.45pm - Gap task

Session 5 - 13.15pm - 14.15pm - Remote delivery

Session 6 - 14.15pm - 15.15pm - Remote delivery


Do you prefer to learn in a classroom?

If so, take a look at:

Higher attainment in GCSE computer science - face to face

This course is delivered as part of the National Centre for Computing Education.


Who is the course leader?


You will:

  • Develop a secure understanding of the assessment processes at GCSE level
  • Gain experience of threshold concepts and how these can be firmly embedded in the curriculum to support student understanding
  • Examine interleaving teaching and retrieval strategies that could be adopted within their own practice
  • Develop a secure understanding of how to structure different exam style questions to fully support the needs of all students


1 Higher attainment in GCSE computer science - meeting the challenges of the exams - remote17 March 202109:00-10:10
3 Higher attainment in GCSE computer science - meeting the challenges of the exams - remote17 March 202111:00-12:00
5 Higher attainment in GCSE computer science - meeting the challenges of the exams - remote17 March 202113:15-14:15
6 Higher attainment in GCSE computer science - meeting the challenges of the exams - remote17 March 202114:15-15:15

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Additional information

Our remote CPD courses for teachers are delivered across a series of sessions run at specific times and dates. Information on all course sessions can be found under the description of each course. To complete a course, all sessions are mandatory.

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