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A–Level Computing Project. Introduction. Learning objectives. Become familiar with the: Guidelines associated with choosing a project. Stages in project development. ‘GUIDANCE ON MARKING THE COMPUTING PROJECT’ in the syllabus. Be able to choose a suitable project. SCHEME OF ASSESSMENT.

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learning objectives
Learning objectives
  • Become familiar with the:
    • Guidelines associated with choosing a project.
    • Stages in project development.
  • Be able to choose a suitable project.
scheme of assessment
  • The computing project is a major part of the A2 specification (40%) .
general description
General Description
  • Do not underestimate the volume of work expected.
  • While the degree of difficulty is largely decided by you and by the problem to be solved, the time required to produce a first class piece of work is considerable.
  • Despite having almost a year to complete the work, there is no room for time wasting.
computing techniques
Computing Techniques
  • The degree of difficulty of computing techniques employed in completing the solution is secondary to the analysis and design of the circumstances surrounding the problem and the implementation of the proposed solution, along with the testing to ensure its satisfactory performance.
  • You are expected to play the part of the systems analyst
  • This emphasis on the aspects of problem solving other than the software development can be illustrated by reference to the mark distribution.
    • Only 18 of the 60 marks (c.30%) are available for implementing the solution that has been designed and of those 18 marks fewer than half are for manipulating a software package, or for writing original software.

Definition, Investigation and Analysis



Software development, testing & implementation

definition investigation and analysis
Definition, Investigation and Analysis:
  • Definition - nature of the problem (3)
  • Investigation and analysis (8)
  • Nature of solution (7)
  • Intended benefits (2)
  • Limits of the scope of the solution (2)
software development testing implementation
Software development, testing & implementation:
  • Development and testing (9)
  • Implementation (6)
  • Appropriateness of structure and exploitation of available facilities (3)
  • Technical documentation (6)
  • User guide (6)
project selection
Project Selection
  • The project is a single problem which needs to be followed through over a long period of time.
  • Because of this, considerable thought must be given to the selection of a suitable problem, that selection being dictated by a number of criteria.
syllabus fit
Syllabus fit
  • A-Level Computing Project Guidance
    • pdf document
  • Familiarise yourselves with this and choose a problem the solution to which will require you to complete all the sections mentioned.
  • The purpose of the marking section in the syllabus is to act as a guide, indicating what is expected at each stage, it is not intended to be a strait jacket and you should realise that many types of project are possible.
identifying possible extensions to your project
Identifying possible extensions to your project
  • Select a problem whose solution is within your capabilities, but do not imagine that the whole solution will be possible during the time that you have available.
  • Indeed, if the solution is complete, you will be penalised because the final mark points are awarded for identifying possible extensions to your project.
  • Many of the marks in the scheme are awarded for the you identifying the need for a partnership between the owner of the problem and the analyst (you).
  • If there is no real end user, the student is severely handicapped when it comes to the marking.
real end user
Real end user
  • The problem should be real and consequently the person who has the problem should be real.
  • The end-user is the expert (along with other members of the organisation) in the problem and what has given rise to it.
  • The systems analyst (you) are the expert in computing and the limitations that are inherent in any computer solution to a problem.
  • The interaction between the end-user and the student forms the major part of the project.
the end user should be involved throughout the project
The end-user should be involved throughout the project
  • The end-user should not be thought of as someone who is prepared to give time to be interviewed about the problem and then will try to use the solution 9 months later.
  • At different stages you should keep the end-user involved so that they develop an ownership of the solution and that they feel to be important to the project.
  • It is a good idea, for example, if the prototypes of the different parts of the solution are shown to the end-user and then altered according to their comments.
  • However, such a goal is not always possible because of individual circumstance.
  • In such cases, the use of family members or members of staff within school is perfectly acceptable, but the student should try to maintain a professional relationship with the person being used in order to make the experience as real as possible.
  • Try not to use fellow students as end users because rarely would the problem be real and the fact that you are both students make it impossible to create the professional, working relationship so essential to this project.
  • You will be working on the problem for a long time.
  • It is essential that there is plenty of scope for maintaining your interest.
  • The project of the football club is unlikely to be suitable because it is about football, although it may be if the local football club is considering computerising its manual filing system because the national association states that information in the future must be in electronic form.
  • This is a real problem, and the choice of project has changed from a choice based on football to a choice based on the solution of a problem.
a little knowledge is a dangerous thing
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing
  • Be aware of choosing something you know something about.
    • This will make the analysis and the information collection very tricky.
  • Try to choose a project about which you have no knowledge so that you are forced to find out enough to solve the problem, meaning all the marks will be available.
    • If you have the knowledge already you are likely not to include it in the documentation because you assume that such knowledge is general.
hardware and software
Hardware and software
  • You should have some idea what is going to be required by the solution; otherwise there is the danger that half way through the solution it is found that the hardware or software required to complete the solution is not available.
  • If you stick to the basic data handling type of project then such problems are unlikely to arise (unless the solution involves specialist hardware like barcode readers), but if the problem requires a solution which is a bit more unusual, then care should be taken to anticipate problems before they arise.
problems that may arise
Problems that may arise
  • Do not worry about problems that arise during the solution.
    • If the project is a real one, there will be problems.
    • Parts of the solution may not work as anticipated leading to revisiting that part of the analysis.
    • Hardware may malfunction at particularly inopportune times.
  • Such problems should be logged and the solution should be part of the final report.
hints on finding a third party user
Hints on finding a ‘third party’ user:
  • Look at manual systems, partially computerised systems, fully computerised systems.
  • Consider clubs and societies, small businesses, charities, school/college.
  • Find a suitable problem to solve for another person
  • Ask family, friends, neighbours, employers, teachers etc.
sample project
Sample Project
  • A snooker club called Smiley’s Snooker.
    • It is a private club with 20 snooker tables and about 400 members.
      • 300 of these are Seniors (over 18 years of age) and 100 are Juniors.
      • The club is open from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm each day.
    • There is no booking system at present.
    • Members just turn up and ask to play.
    • The part of the business that Smiley's has asked you to computerise is handling the allocation of tables and to keep a record of the membership of the club.
  • Brainstorm ideas for projects and users.
  • Are they suitable?
  • Choose a project!