Coursework will not count towards closing GCSE computer science ranges during the next two decades, England’s examinations regulator has confirmed.
The move comes amid worries about widespread cheating in the subject, which motivated Ofqual to take actions to make sure that results remain “honest and reliable”.
In November, the examinations watchdog started a consultation on modifications to computer science, cautioning that there was a “real and substantial” risk that if nothing was done, this summer’s GCSE computer science results wouldn’t be a “honest reflection of each student’s knowledge, abilities and understanding”.
It had emerged that tasks due to be completed by teens in schools and colleges as part of the new GCSE course are published online, as well as detailed solutions in many cases, according to Ofqual.
It has today confirmed that coursework will not count towards final scores this year or next, adding that the tasks are “nevertheless an important part of the course and contributes to student learning and advancement”.
Students will need to be given the chance within the school timetable to complete the work, Ofqual added.
A decision on 2020 onwards hasn’t yet been accepted.
Ofqual primary executive order, Sally Collier explained: “We’re pleased that all these teachers and pupils took the opportunity to react to our critique.
“A very clear majority of respondents agree there are currently shortcomings with all the non-exam assessment that may unfairly advantage some pupils.
“While those tasks themselves will no longer contribute to pupils’ levels, we firmly believe that learning about a high-level programming language and getting the chance to demonstrate how it can be utilized to fix issues is hugely important.
“We think these modifications will make the qualification as honest as it could be for all pupils.”
Coursework, called non-exam assessment, is performed by GCSE computer engineering students during their research, and is now worth 20 percent of the final mark.
Students due to take their examinations in the subject that summer — the very first time that awards would be awarded for the qualification — managed to start their alliance from the start of September last year.
But shortly after Ofqual became aware that tasks and options were being discussed in internet forums, the regulator said.
In one case, an individual asked for help with a job on designing a piece of software. The very first reaction to this question contained a complete solution, Ofqual said, adding the article currently has over 2,500 viewpoints.
In another case, Ofqual stated a very simple search to get a crucial requirement of a job on a favorite online developer community returned over 40 pages of results.