The exam is taken online and can be taken at any time (after you have completed the coursework). The exam is worth 70 marks towards the qualification. The exam decides what GCSE grade you achieve:-
C = 20 marks from the exam
B = 30 marks from the exam
A = 40 marks from the exam
A* = 50 marks from the exam
#This will be updated to reflect 1-9 grading system
One resit of the exam is permitted and you get the higher of the two marks.
1. Audiences at which work is targeted.
Aspects of the work that makes it particularly suitable for the audience. Global audience and how communications technologies offer scope to improve productivity. Key characteristics of writing formally as opposed to writing informally in IT environments and why.
Knowing that people with disabilities need special consideration.
Simple cases such as choosing colours that will not cause problems for people with colour blindness, having text alternatives for graphics to enable blind people to know what is being displayed, subtitles for videos for deaf people.
Description of a science investigation or other learning activity taken from the core curriculum, using a web page(s) with links to references so that a future employer can see the quality of work simply by knowing the URL.
Using translation software to communicate with someone in a different country.
Public web page (Wiki) to collaborate with friends in producing an information page about the local environment because it enabled collaborative working.
Making it easy for other people to contribute and make the results easy to link to other similar sites. Advantages and disadvantages.
Formal writing in a web page to present part of an e-portfolio is important because employers will get a bad impression otherwise.
Creating notes on a subject so they are accessible to themselves and peers from any location and can be linked to references and supporting resources.
Using on-line publishing services for formally written texts.
Informal writing, SMS conventions, chat and instant messaging of friends using accepted short cuts and slang to communicate meaning.
Awareness that many people using English discussion groups and mailing lists are not native English speakers.
Checking e-mail headers to make sure replies are only sent to people that need them.
Not using automated replies on mailing list eg “I’m out of the office” and why.
“Spam” – knowing not to contribute to it eg by making your e-mail address public in a web page or replying to it.
2. Purpose in common applications and/or applications they have used.
Security and safety when working online.
Word processing makes redrafting more efficient.
Collaborative technologies enable sharing documents and concurrent development.
Vector design programs produce drawings that can be scaled almost infinitely without loss of quality or increasing the size of the files.
Web browsers should all display information provided on the internet consistently irrespective of the device.
A spreadsheet enables mathematical models.
The internet is increasingly the computer platform, its purpose is to store and provide and enable creation of information all over the world.
Text messages enable low cost asynchronous communication.
Basic principles of files names and structures associated with applications.
File sizes, file types and conversion between files.
Issues related to interoperability of applications from different providers.
Save as, import and export to and from applications.
Passwords enable security but quality of passwords matters.
Identifying unsafe practice.
Knowing that people on the internet should not be trusted without good and independent verification of their identity.
Knowing that simple internet searches can reveal a lot about you and other people.
Knowing that leaving your computer without logging out is a very significant security breach.
Knowing about common internet scams.
3. Strengths and weaknesses in the ways information is presented.
Make comparisons between methods. Improving the way information is presented. Making information more accessible.
As a method of presenting information to a general audience, using web pages is better than desktop presentation software if sharing the information and updating it for a wide range of users is important.
Desktop presentation software is better if there is a need for visual effects to a static audience.
A lot of information gets presented inefficiently because most people associate presentation with desktop presentation software and many have little experience or skills to use other methods.
The problem with e-mailing files as attachments or even downloading a file is that there is then a big task managing
all those files and no means of updating them centrally.
Mostly routine presentations are simple slides and so there is no great advantage compared to using linked web pages or a simple web based presentation system.
Giving the audience the URL (web address ) of the information means all they have to do is book mark it.
If anchors are set in the information and published the users can integrate precise bits of information into their own information systems with simple links.
With the shift from desktop to the web these issues are becoming increasingly important in improving productivity.
There is still reluctance to acknowledge benefits when people have all their personal learning locked into older less efficient methods. This is why education for technological change is important rather than just teaching current established practice.
Handling and interpreting information in IT contexts, trends, rates of change and comparisons.
Understanding trends will help in making better choices and improving productivity.
Information in formats that can be viewed and edited by free tools is more accessible to more people. Importance of open standards and the interests of particular commercial entities in proprietary standards.
Significant facts should be referenced to evidence.
Many people providing information have a commercial interest. This includes the news media who will often distort facts to get a reaction to sell more news.
Companies selling software and services will play up any advantages and keep very quiet about any disadvantages.
Candidates need to be aware of the possible conflicts of interest behind the information presented to them enabling them to make better decisions that underpin improved productivity.
4. Copyright licensing and patent issues that affect information associated with common applications.
Candidates will be expected to be familiar with commonly used file types and important open standards.
All candidates should be able to Identify key image file formats svg, jpg and png as open standards associated with web browsers.
.psd as a common undocumented proprietary image format associated with desktop applications.
HTML5 as an open standard including video playback.
Flash video as a proprietary video file format.
Describe the relationship between copyright and licensing.
Illegality of using copyright material contrary to the license.
Problems of long term access to information in “secret” formats and for interoperability of data between applications from different suppliers and the effect on competition.
Referencing work and respecting trademarks.
Balance between the power given to copyright/patent holders compared to the power of the end-user.
All these have a significant impact on risk and productivity.
In recent years licensing for sharing has become increasingly common. Whereas the traditional approach is to forbid copying without paying a license,removing such barriers can massively increase proliferation.
Examples are the IBM PC hardware design, worldwide web, Wikipedia, web browsers, Android Smartphones.
Note, mostly these things are NOT copyright free, they are copyrighted but they are licensed for free use sometimes with conditions.
Association of common files such as .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx, .pdf, .eps, .html, .odt, .odc, .odd, .wav, .mp3, .mpg, .ogg, .mov, .wmf, .flv, .exe, .txt, .zip, .rtf, .mp4, .jpg, .png, .svg, .gif, .avi. with types of application is expected.
5. System of information flow starting with input of information, through processing the information to outputting results.
Providing information in an e-portfolio system, linking it to assessment criteria and providing self-assessment and passing it to an assessor, assessor returning it with feedback.
This could be in any subject of the curriculum.
Listing the information sources needed for a homework assignment,explaining how they will be organised and how the final outcomes will be presented.
Gathering empirical data through data logging, processing it and presenting it in graphical form.
Gathering data from the internet about two different software applications and processing and presenting the results to
highlight comparative data.
Collecting survey data using web forms, processing it and presenting the results.
Issues in an information flow linked to interoperability of different components in the system.
Efficiency in terms of the degree of automation in the process and the tools used (Too many people collect data in word processor documents even at national government level. It is simply bad and inefficient practice probably resulting from low expectations in digital literacy and lock-in to dated methods and software)
Macros, scripts and programs that improve productivity.
Issues related to copyright and licensing of information in the system.
6. Costs of different applications, direct and indirect costs.
Putting information directly into web pages makes them available to anyone with a web browser and there are options to get free web browsers on free operating software.
Putting information into eg MS Publisher and saving in .pub files makes it impossible to access the information without buying MS Publisher (and MS Windows).
There are then license fees to pay for Publisher and the Operating System on which it is running.
Saving a drawing in svg format enables it to be accessed and edited using free software and displayed on the
A drawing in .cdr format can only be reliably opened using Corel Draw
Compare different aspects of costs to a company in procuring different applications and decide which is most significant. For example managing e-portfolios on a local server will need maintenance on the local server whereas managing an e-portfolio on an internet based server means no local server management.
Training costs can be significant in changing working patterns. If short term costs are critical it will mitigate against the investment in training needed to support more efficient working practices in the future.
Direct costs include software licenses, technical support to install the application.
Indirect costs include the hardware to run the application, need for other associated applications eg anti-virus software, maintenance, mandatory upgrades that cost additional fees, technical support, training on new systems.
7. Target setting for IT projects.
SMART targets, the importance of objectives and targets that can be rationally evaluated. Identifying resources needed for projects. Identifying critical success factors.
When producing a book and publishing it with its own ISBN using on-line publishing set specific targets at key points in the process.
In the context of an e-portfolio recognise that providing 3 screen sized pages for 3 subjects by 31st July is a SMART target. Know that “produce an e-portfolio to show employers” is an aim not a SMART target.
“Critical to success of this project is access to the internet, a graphics editor that can produce .png files, an on-line content management system” these are critical success factors.
8. Specific characteristics of software to make choices of tools.
Using Inkscape as a design tool because it is free and is available on 3 major desktop platforms.
Use MS Word for documents because it is the only word processor available on the school network.
Use Google Docs spreadsheet because it can be used by several people in different schools at the same time working on the same sheet.
Using PortableApps because they can be run from a USB key without having to install anything on the computer.
Use a content management system because it is easy to generate and edit web pages making them available to a wide audience.
Support for macro generators/programming to automate common processes.
Analysis of software applications to identify factors and attributes that support productivity and efficiency, including short, medium and long term effects.
9. Purposes and outcomes in ICT projects
Describing how a science investigation was presented on the internet.
Describe how they supported learning in their Ebacc subjects using IT.
Describing how they published their own book with its own ISBN.
Describing how they built a simple web site for a small business that did not have a presence on the internet.
General understanding of productivity issues coming from practical projects they have completed.
10. Key aspects of local “Acceptable Use Policy” and their purpose.
Legal issues related to usage.
Not sharing passwords, being polite to other people in social/collaborative networks, not attempting to hack into the system or use other people’s accounts. No bullying.
Reasons can include privacy, accountability, technical security against malware and general good manners.
How do constraints related to acceptable use affect productivity?
Legal issues such as copyright and licenses.