Multicultural kids are more likely to struggle at school

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GCSE: AI added to ‘outdated’ computer science content

The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) must be taught under proposed changes to the “outdated” computer science GCSE, the government has said.

Under the changes published today and open to consultation, the Department for Education also suggests that visual programming languages ​​can be used to meet programming requirements.

The study of computer science will also be “better represented” as an academic discipline.

The DfE expects that the proposed updates to the GCSE will be first taught in 2026.

Technology has ‘moved on’

The changes “respond to recent advances in technology” to ensure students acquire skills that are “most relevant to further study or employment in computing and a broad range of other disciplines”, the DfE has said.

The consultation states: “The current computer science GCSE subject content was published by the Department for Education in January 2015, and since that time digital technology has moved on, meaning that some content is outdated.”

Key changes to the subject content include “the opportunity for visual programming languages ​​to be used in meeting the programming requirements” and a clarification confirming that “AI must be considered within the teaching of the impacts of digital technologies”, the DfE added.

The consultation was launched today and will close on the 21 July 2024.

The proposals come amid increased concerns around the use of AI by students placing a “significant burden” on teachers.

The proposed changes have been published after the British Computer Society convened a review group of subject experts – requested by the DfE – to ensure the GCSE “would remain relevant to digital technology, both now and in the foreseeable future, given the rapid pace of change ”.

Proposed changes also include “greater transparency of the underlying programming knowledge and skills students need to learn” and a content restructure “to aid its coherence and flow”.

With the proposed changes around the inclusion of visual programming languages, the DfE has said it “will be for awarding organizations to decide if they wish to offer the GCSE in a textual or visual language, or both”.

Exam board OCR announced in December that it plans to offer the first fully digitally-assessed GCSE in computer science for students starting their course in 2025 if it receives regulatory approval from Ofqual.

Meanwhile, AQA announced it would delay the rollout of its digital languages ​​exams earlier this year.

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