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Computing teaching needs support

A nationwide baseline test taken by 55,000 children has identified the areas in which schools need additional support in computing

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | March 12, 2015 | Technology

The free Key Stage 3 test was created by members of Naace, the community of educators, technologists and policy makers who share a vision for the role of technology in advancing education. 

The test was developed to enable schools to judge progress following the removal of assessment levels and the demise of IT attainment targets. The data samples are nationally representative and enable schools to benchmark progress and address areas of weakness, but all data is completely confidential so each school can identify areas for improvement in strict privacy.

The results show that boys achieve slightly higher scores than girls across all age groups except 11–12 years, where the average score for girls is 36.9% , and 36.5% for boys. Questions that gave examples of simple programs and asked pupils what the program was designed to do were the least well answered, with statistics showing that answering randomly would have given better results. 

Questions on e-safety and passwords gained the strongest results, but still a third of pupils gave worrying responses. A very significant minority think that using the word 'password' for your password is safe and similar numbers think it is safe to contact the sender of an email.

Given that all students are taught maths, it was very surprising to find two thirds of younger pupils and about half of the students in Year 10 did not know what an integer was. This indicates that we need to make more of an effort to be sure technical vocabulary is secure in general.

Mark Chambers, CEO of Naace said: “We will use the data from these tests to feedback information to teachers, helping them to prioritise areas of weakness in knowledge and understanding, as well as monitor their department's and pupils' progress. Computing can be a challenging subject to teach, particularly for non-specialist teachers, so this insight is crucial for refining the support given to educators, so that they in turn can help pupils to achieve. “

The Naace Strategic Conference returns to the East Midlands Conference Centre on 25th - 26th March 2015.

 

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