We’ve known for a long while now that Computer Science as part of the Leaving Certificate course was coming. The first exam in the subject is set to take place in 2020, meaning that this September the first students will begin to take the new course. As announced by the Department of Education earlier this year, the subject will be split between continuous assessment and a final exam which will be taken online. 30% of the final grade will be a project which will be undertaken over a 6-week period. Following that, the remaining 70% of the final grade will be examined online alongside other state examinations.
As outlined by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), students should come out with the following skills at the end of the course.
- The practices and principles of computer science, such as computational thinking, computers and society,
and creative design.
- How to analyse problems in computational terms and understand concepts such as abstraction, logic,
algorithms, computer systems, data representation and evaluation.
- Programming languages and how to read, write, test and modify computer programs.
- The process of designing computational artefacts such as web pages, digital animations, simulations,
games, apps and robotic systems.
- The ethical, historical, environmental and technological aspects of computer science, and how it impacts
the social and economic development of society.
All of these skills not only apply to those looking to continue on to a STEM course in University, but they apply in day-to-day life as well. Students in forty schools strewn out across the country will be the first to take on the course this September, where the Department of Education will collect valuable data on how students handle the subject. They also hope to have it rolled out to all students by September of 2020, though that is obviously subject to change based on how the course goes for the next two years. We’ll be keeping a close eye on it, as Computer Science skills are some of the most important for young people to have today. With the technology and science industries booming, especially in Ireland, it’s about time that we started teaching it in our schools.