Frequently Asked Questions
Can my son / daughter do Leaving Certificate Computer Science outside school?
The structure of the specification for LCCS is underpinned by students developing a number of skills, including working with others and communication. The specification states:
“Leaving Certificate Computer Science is underpinned by collaboration and working with others. In their project work, students gain appreciation of the dynamics of groups and the social skills needed to engage in collaborative work. Computer Science contributes to an appreciation that working collectively can help motivation, release energy and capitalise on all the talents in a group. One of the crucial factors in working with others is to identify, evaluate and achieve collective goals. Students learn to negotiate and resolve conflicts as they discuss their different strategies and achieve consensus.”
The four Applied Learning Tasks which form part of the specification are completed collaboratively by students working in teams. Teachers will assess and provide feedback on student learning as part of ongoing teaching and learning in the classroom. Both the teacher and the student are required to verify completion of the Tasks.
There are two components to the assessment of LCCS, an end of course computer based examination (70% of overall marks) and a coursework component (30% of overall marks). Both components are externally assessed by the State Examinations Commission (SEC). The coursework is based on a task in which students are required to generate a computational artefact in response to a brief set out by the SEC.
The SEC sets out the requirements for the authentication of subject coursework. The authentication process is intended to ensure that each piece of coursework presented for assessment is the candidate’s own individual work, completed under the supervision of the class teacher, in full compliance with coursework regulations and requirements. For reasons of inter-candidate equity and examinations integrity, there needs to be an assurance to the system that candidates are presenting their own unaided work and that each candidate is completing their work under the same conditions as all other candidates.
The conditions for the completion, acceptance and authentication of coursework are set out in the SEC circulars S68/08 and S69/04. The authentication process is an ongoing process of engagement and oversight over a period of time - rather than a single ‘point in time’ engagement. This requirement is reflected in both the relevant circulars and in the guidance issued with individual coursework briefs and tasks.
The coursework project brief for LCCS published by the SEC states:
“Apart from your initial investigation and research, you must carry out the project in school under the supervision of your teacher. This allows your teacher to authenticate your work to the SEC. Because you are carrying out the work under teacher supervision, the teacher is able to guarantee to us that that it is your own work, and that nobody gave you any inappropriate help. If you include work that was not supervised by your teacher, then they cannot authenticate it, even if they believe that you really did it yourself. We cannot accept work for assessment if your teacher cannot authenticate it, so you will forfeit marks for the project work. Note also that we cannot give partial marks for ‘partially authenticated’ work. That is, unless all of your work can be authenticated by your teacher, we cannot accept any of it for marking.”
The above requirements would need to be satisfied by students wishing to take LCCS and to be marked on all assessment components. Students who are not in a position to carry out their coursework in a school under the direct supervision of a teacher of the subject cannot submit coursework for assessment. Any such student entering for the examination would of necessity forfeit the marks for the coursework component. It is for these reasons that the Department recommends that only students attending LCCS classes in schools, and completing the coursework components under the supervision of their teacher, should enter for examination in LCCS.
My son/ daughter is thinking of studying Computer Science after school. Where can I find out about the different Computer Science courses?
Where can I find out about different Computer Science careers?
My son/ daughter is picking their subjects for 5th year. Can you give me some broad information on the leaving certificate computer course?
My son/ daughter is picking their subjects for 5th year. Can you take up Computer Science if you have not studied it before?
Yes you can take up the subject if you have not studied it before.
What is the assessment for the Leaving Certificate Computer Science course?
There are two assessment components at each level, an end-of-course examination (70%) and coursework assessment (30%). The end of course examination with include a written and coding exam.
When does the exam take place?
End of course examination takes place on the last Wednesday of May in 6th year.
When does the coursework take place?
January to March in 6th year
What programming languages will you learn?
My son/ daughter is not interested in studying computer science after school (or pursuing a career in CS). Is this subject still relevant to them?
Yes, the course is still relevant. The Leaving Certificate Computer Science course introduces students to problem-solving using programming and computational knowledge. The course develops an understanding of fundamental concepts of computer science and technology’s role in society. Through applied exercises, students will develop practical skills while working in teams to create functioning computer applications. These skills are transferable to other careers and other third level courses.