Computing - National 4/5
The Course enables pupils to develop knowledge and understanding of key computing concepts, processes and computing technologies. It also enables pupils to develop a range of computing and computational thinking skills, including skills in analysis and problem-solving, design and modelling, developing, implementing and testing digital solutions, across a range of contemporary contexts.
There are three units in this course. The course content outlined here is for National 5. Pupils undertaking National 4 cover much of the same content as National 5 but to a lower level of conceptual understanding.
Software Design and Development
Candidates develop knowledge, understanding and practical problem-solving skills in software design and development, through a range of practical and investigative tasks using appropriate software development environments. This develops their programming and computational-thinking skills by implementing practical solutions and explaining how these programs work. Tasks involve some complex features (in both familiar and new contexts), that require some interpretation by candidates. They are expected to analyse problems, and design, implement, test and evaluate their solutions. In Madras, our main programming language is Python.
Unit Content includes:
Describe and implement the phases of the development process: analysis, design, implementation, testing, documentation, and evaluation, within general programming problem-solving.
Analyse the requirements of a problem in terms of purpose, functionality, inputs, processes and oututs.
Design processes and notation – including pseudocode, flowcharts, structure diagrams and wireframes.
Data types and structures: character, string, numeric (integer and real), Boolean and 1-D arrays.
Computational constructs: variables, arithmetic operations (+, -, *, /, ^), selection (IF), logical operators (AND, OR, NOT), comparitors (=, >, <, ≥, ≤, ≠), fixed and conditional loops and pre-defined functions.
Standard Algorithms: input validation, loop and sum, traverse an array.
Testing: normal, extreme and exceptional test cases.
Error types: syntax, execution and logic errors.
Evaluation: fitness for purpose, efficiency of coding constructs, robustness, readability (internal commentary, meaningful identifiers, indentation, white space)
Pupils develop an understanding of how data and instructions are stored in binary form and basic computer architecture. They gain an awareness of the environmental impact of the energy use of computing systems and security precautions that can be taken to protect computer systems. Unit Content includes:
Data Representation: binary for positive integers, floating point represenetation, 8-bit ascii, vector graphic (representation of rectangle, ellipse, line, polygon), bit mapped graphics.
Computer Structure: processor (registers, ALU, control unit), memory locations with unique addresses, buses (data and address), interpreters and compilers to translate high-level program code to binary instructions.
Environmental Impact: describe the energy use of computer systems, the implications on the environment and how these could be reduced through settings on monitors, power down settings, leaving computers on standby.
Security Precautions: the role of firewalls and encryption in electronic communications.
Database Design and Development
Pupils will develop knowledge, understanding and practical problem-solving skills in database design and development, through a range of practical and investigative tasks. This allows candidates to apply computational-thinking skills to analyse, design, implement, test, and evaluate practical solutions, using a range of development tools such as SQL. Tasks involve some complex features (in both familiar and new contexts), that require some interpretation by candidates. Unit Content includes:
Analysis: Identify the end-user and functional requirements of a database problem.
Design: Implications for individuals and businesses of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), entity-relationship diagrams with two entities, data dictionaries, relationships (one to many) and design of queries.
Database structure: two linked tables, field types (text, numbers, date, time, graphics, calculated, link, Boolean), field lengths and range, primary and foreign key fields.
Implementation: relational databases with two linked tables, SQL code to access and manipulate database.
Testing: Check SQL operations work correctly.
Evaluating: Evaluate solution in terms of fitness for purpose and accuracy of output.
Web Design and Development
Analysis: Identify the end-user and functional requirements of a website problem.
Design: website structure and linkage, user interface design (wireframing), Copyright, Designs and Patents act and its implications for web content, standard file formats for audio and graphics and comparisons of quality and file size, the need for compression in digital media.
Implementation of HTML: