Madras College

Computing - Advanced Higher


The Computing course combines knowledge and understanding of computer concepts with practical skills in carrying out a range of computing tasks where there is an emphasis on programming in contemporary contexts such as object oriented games, application design and information system scripting. Throughout their learning, pupils will consider the social, ethical and legal issues associated with the use of computer systems. The development of analytical and problem solving abilities should enable students to have a creative role in a modern technological society.

Course Content 

There are 2 mandatory topics and a course assessment consisting of a development project and an external question paper:

Software Design and Development 

This topic explores a range of advanced concepts and processes relating to software design and development, including the use of searching and sorting algorithms, compound data structures and a range of programming constructs. Learners will develop skills in developing well-structured, complex modular programs through practical tasks, using appropriate programming languages. Through investigative and practical work, learners will gain an understanding of the similarities and differences in various contemporary programming paradigms with an emphasis on object oriented concepts.

Information System Design and Development 

This topic explores a range of advanced concepts and processes relating to the design and development of complex information systems. Learners will acquire skills in developing and implementing complex information systems through practical tasks using a range of development tools and applying dynamic website technologies such as HTML forms, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and SQL. Learners will develop their independent learning skills by investigating a contemporary development, describing its purpose, features and applications, a related technical challenge or current area of development, any legal and ethical implications, and evaluating its environmental, economic and social impact.

Computing Science Project - Assignment

The purpose of the Project is to assess practical application of knowledge and skills from across the Course to develop a solution to an appropriately challenging and complex computing science problem defined by the learner and agreed by the teacher. It will assess learners' knowledge, understanding and skills in planning and designing a solution to a problem, implementing and testing the solution, evaluating and reporting on that solution and presenting their work to their peers and teacher.

The Project provides pupils with an exceptional opportunity to put into practise the concepts and processes they have learned about in the mandatory units. This is a highly focussed and motivating way of learning in that pupils identify themselves what is relevant and important within the scope of their project while gaining a valuable insight into project management.


Entry Requirements

Higher Computing – recommended A or B


Pupils have 4 (60 minute) periods of Computing Studies per week.


Homework is an extremely important part of the course and will typically involve all of the following:

  • Review notes and practise exam questions in preparation for unit assessments and prelim exams.
  • Prescribed and specific homework exercises to consolidate current learning
  • Developing and documenting the Project in order to keep to schedule and meet intermediate deadlines.



Pupils will be assessed in the following ways:

Internal Assessment

The 2 main units are assessed on a pass/fail basis by a combination of written responses and practical tasks.

The Project is known as the 'Assignment' and accounts for 90 marks - 60% of the overall course mark.

External Assessment

A written exam is set by the SQA. The paper will consist of 60 marks - 40% of the overall course mark.



Progression to Computing Science and Software Development related courses at university and college.