Due to the impact of coronavirus, we know teachers have questions about completing the Programming Project for GCSE (9-1) Computer Science (J276). We have listened to these queries and discussed them with Ofqual:
What has changed?
Following notification from Ofqual, we have been able to relax the rules regarding supervision of the Programming Project.
Students do not need to be directly supervised by their teacher when completing the Programming Project.
Has the Programming Project been cancelled?
No. The Programming Project remains an important part of computer science and a requirement of the specification.
Why has the Programming Project not been cancelled?
The Programming Project is a requirement of the qualification as set out by Ofqual.
From speaking with teachers, we know that every centre is different. Some centres have either completely or partly completed the Programming Project, whilst others are yet to start.
The relaxation of the requirements due to the impact of Coronavirus supports centres and students, whilst continuing to recognise the importance of the Programming Project in supporting the learning of Components 01 and 02.
What are the new rules for supervision?
Teachers no longer need to directly supervise the time spent on the Programming Project. This means that they may now complete the Programming Project remotely at home or in school or a mixture of both.
For example, one option you may consider is to deliver skills lesson in class, and then allow remote sessions for students to develop their Programming Project.
The flexibility allows you to work out what is best for your students.
Do I still need to give students 20 hours of time?
Yes. Centres are still expected to give candidates 20 hours of time to complete the Programming Project.
Do I need to authenticate work?
We expect teachers to take reasonable steps to check that work remains individual to that student where possible. This will support the valuable learning experience of the Programming Project.
Do I still need to submit samples in May 2021?
No. Centres will not be asked to submit work to us.
Should I still record the time students spend on the programming project?
Yes. We ask that you still record when students spend time completing the Programming Project. This includes lesson time and remote time to a total of at least 20 hours.
Students may update you on how long they have spent on the Programming Project outside of direct supervision. This can help you keep a record of the total time each student has spent.
What about students with limited access to IT equipment?
We recognise that for some students, working remotely provides significant challenge.
These arrangements allow those students who can complete the Programming Project at home to do so. This may help free up school IT equipment for students who don’t have IT access at home.
Can my students work on the Programming Project during the school holidays?
The programming project should be completed during 20 timetabled hours. We appreciate that due to the current Coronavirus situation, timetabled hours are not as well defined as they would be normally. A Centre can decide when they feel it would be best for students to complete the programming project and they should keep a record of this time.
What documents will I need to submit to OCR in summer 2021?
No Programming Project Sample or associated documentation (CCS161/Candidate authentication form) will be required by OCR for the Summer 2021 examination series.
How can I be sure how many hours my students are spending on the Programming Project?
We expect students to submit their Programming Project to their teacher who will be able to make a judgement on the hours their students have spent on the project. You may want to ask your students to complete their own time log showing the time they have spent on the Programming Project.
Can students spend more than 20 hours on the Programming Project?
Yes. There is a requirement for students to spend at least 20 hours on completing the Programming Project, if they wish to spend more than 20 hours on the Programming Project this is allowed.
Where can I find more information about the changes for 2021?
We have also produced a short guide to these changes that can be downloaded below: