Setting High Expectations in GCSE Computer Science

Setting High Expectations in my GCSE Computer Science lessons comes from building this as a culture and routine from the outset. The culture I aim to achieve is one where the students in my class are keen and eager to improve and are aiming to reach and exceed their target grade and that levels of progress are significantly raised. I am wanting students to give their best on each topic and produce their best high quality work.

An important part of the routine and culture I have embedded is one where students take responsibility for their own learning, act on feedback, improve results, are resilient, are clear what is expected of them and know they can achieve more.

Consider the following:

  • Do you see a students target grade as a MINIMUM expectation?
  • How do you promote the idea of raising levels of progress and exceeding MINIMUM expectation?
  • Do you expect students to give their best for every topic?
  • How do you ensure students give their best for every topic?
  • How do you train students to be more resilient?
  • Do you train students to care about the quality of their work?
  • How do you instil a growth mind-set?
  • Do you model high expectations?


Expectations and routines – One thing I do is ensure that students know what is expected of them and that there are “no surprises”.  For example in Year 10 we alternated between theory and programming lessons. They knew what they were doing when they came in the room. I always set homework once a week, and is always set on the same day, eg every Thursday and always due in in the same day, eg every Tuesday. It helps get students in routines and into this culture of there being a certain expectation. This half term a plan was given to them, again to help with building this idea of no surprises and knowing what the expectation and routine is.


Teacher/student agreements –


Help Desk/Enable Table – Have a table in your classroom where students can access help resources, templates, examples, success criteria to help them when they are stuck. Have
boxes/packs of resources that can be brought out ready to use per topic. This helps build resilience. I also have an electronic help desk with resources.

Mark presentation –  When marking students work do not let poorly presented work pass by. On top of the mark for each homework I give a mark out of 2 for presentation. Students soon quickly learn to meet the high expectations for presentation as it’s an easy 2 marks to score.

Marking work – Each week students receive homework questions similar to past paper questions where a raw score is given and here are some strategies I use:

  • Personal Best – Students plot their personal best on a graph which gets them in the mind-set of always trying to beat their personal best. They don’t compare themselves with others but focus on own performance.
  • Average score – I use electronic mark books to keep track of students marks and average score. I feedback the average score to students on a regular basis (written at the end of each homework) and let them see the impact their work is having on their overall average. They are usually motivated to work hard and see it improve.
  • Resits and Retests – Don’t accept work that isn’t good enough. Have a pass mark that students need to achieve for a piece of work in relation to their target grade (or even stretching them) and ask them to re do pieces of work that aren’t up to standard. Reinforce this and soon they will work harder to get it right first time.
Markbook snippet
Snippet of electronic markbook which automatically averages all scores.
The markbook can then produce printouts for each student

Other posts that may be of interest:

Resource: GCSE Computer Science Revision

GCSE Computer Science Assessments

Resource: OOP Questions

Programming Challenges

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