IB Year 1 Standard Level Computer Science Syllabus

Computer science is a two year course where students build understanding and skill in the fundamental concepts of computational thinking as well as knowledge of how computers and other digital devices operate.

The Diploma Programme computer science course is engaging, accessible, inspiring and rigorous. It has the following characteristics.

  1. draws on a wide spectrum of knowledge
  2. enables and empowers innovation, exploration and the acquisition of further knowledge
  3. interacts with and influences cultures, society and how individuals and societies behave
  4. raises ethical issues
  5. is underpinned by computational thinking

Teacher: Bill MacKenty, M.Ed.
Teacher email: bmackenty@aswarsaw.org
Teacher room: H121

American School of Warsaw
Bielawa. 202 Warszawska Ul.
05-520 Konstancin-Jeziorna

The following course aims are used with gratitude from the IB DP computer science subject guide:

Diploma Programme computer science students should become aware of how computer scientists work and communicate with each other and with other stakeholders in the successful development and implementation of IT solutions.

While the methodology used to solve problems in computer science may take a wide variety of forms, the group 4 computer science course emphasizes the need for both a theoretical and practical approach.

It is in this context that the Diploma Programme computer science course should aim to:

  1. Provide opportunities for study and creativity within a global context that will stimulate and challenge students developing the skills necessary for independent and lifelong learning
  2. Provide a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize computer science
  3. Enable students to apply and use a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize computer science
  4. Demonstrate initiative in applying thinking skills critically to identify and resolve complex problems
  5. Engender an awareness of the need for, and the value of, effective collaboration and communication in resolving complex problems
  6. Develop logical and critical thinking as well as experimental, investigative and problem-solving skills
  7. Develop and apply the students’ information and communication technology skills in the study of computer science to communicate information confidently and effectively
  8. Raise awareness of the moral, ethical, social, economic and environmental implications of using science and technology
  9. Develop an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations associated with continued developments in IT systems and computer science
  10. Encourage an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and the overarching nature of the scientific method.

The assessment component is broken into two parts: external and internal assessment. The external assessment is 70% of your grade, and the Internal assessment is 30% of your grade.

External assessment (2 hours 30 minutes)

Paper 1
Paper 2
Internal assessment
This component is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB at the end of the course.
The requirement of the internal assessment is to develop a solution for a specified client to a specified problem or an unanswered question.
The solution is assessed using five criteria:
You can earn a maximum of 34 marks for your solution.
Group 4 Project

  • 1 hour 30 minutes is allocated for an examination paper consisting of two compulsory sections:
  • Section A (30 minutes approximately) consists of several compulsory short answer questions. The maximum mark for this section is 25.
  • Section B (60 minutes approximately) consists of three compulsory structured questions. The maximum mark for this section is 45.
  • You can earn a maximum of 70 marks for paper 1. It is weighted for 45% of your final grade.
  • 1 hour is allocated for paper 2 which is an examination paper linked to the option studied (which is web science).
  • The paper consists of between two and five compulsory questions. (45 marks)
  • You can earn a maximum of 45 marks for paper 2. It is weighted for 25% of your final grade.
  • Planning
  • Solution overview
  • Development
  • Functionality and extensibility of product
  • Evaluation

The group 4 project is a collaborative activity where students from different group 4 subjects work together on a scientific or technological topic, allowing for concepts and perceptions from across the disciplines to be shared. This is to encourage an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and the overarching nature of the scientific method. The project can be practically or theoretically based. Collaboration between schools in different regions is encouraged.

The group 4 project allows students to appreciate the environmental, social and ethical implications of science and technology. It may also allow them to understand the limitations of scientific study, for example, the shortage of appropriate data and/or the lack of resources. The emphasis is on interdisciplinary cooperation and the processes involved in scientific investigation, rather than the products of such investigation.

In addition to IB assessment, the course has substantial amounts of summative and formative assessment.

Required materials include a school-issued computer with all software updated as directed in our getting started guide.

Here is a guide how you can communicate with me. I am available most of the time. You should be aware of advantages and disadvantages for each method of communication:

Speak to me in person

  • Advantages: You can gauge my reaction to an initial idea. This method is good for quick, yes/no questions. I’ll tell you if your question isn’t quick to answer.
  • Disadvantages: Most problems are complex. It takes time to understand them and solve them.

Send me an email In-depth questions, with evidence that you have followed our guide to asking good questions will get replies.

  • Advantages: Messages are private.
  • Disadvantages: I don’t respond to emails very quickly, and if your question is complex, it will take me more time to answer it. Also, if there is a lot of back-and-forth between us about your question, emails might make it hard to follow.

Ask a question in our class discussion board

  • Advantage: Other people can learn from your question. Other people can help answer your question. Messages are threaded and topics are organized logically. You can quote code samples and include attachments.
  • Disadvantage: Answers to your questions might take a bit longer, especially if they are complex.

Ask a question on google classroom

  • Advantage: Don’t try to communicate with me on google classroom. It won’t work.
  • Advantage: Don’t try to communicate with me on google classroom. It won’t work.

Exam re-takes

I do not allow students to retake exams. Many students get the idea that they don’t have to take a test seriously until the retake. Students and parents are reminded a grade is a single data point, not to be considered as a single point upon which all success and failure rests.


I want you to work hard and learn. There are times when you may want to earn extra credit. Extra credit does not automatically improve your grade. Here are some things to think about before you accept an assignment for extra credit:

  1. The assignment will be graded with the same rigor as other assignments (extra credit isn’t easy)
  2. You must treat an extra credit assignment as a regular assignment. If you do not turn it in, or do not meet the standard, you may further harm your progress
  3. You will have clear criteria (a rubric) for your extra credit
  4. Extra credit is almost always service-oriented. Your teacher alone determines what qualifies for extra credit.
  5. You must always ask for permission for extra credit prior to doing the work.

You are responsible for understanding and following these guidelines.

From the Student Handbook:

Academic integrity is an expected trait in all students of ASW and is afforded the utmost value by all members of the faculty. The academic reputation of our students and the school in the wider community depend on it. Academic integrity expectations extend to all assessed and non-assessed school work and to all documentation produced for university and college applications. It is the expectation at ASW that all work and documentation submitted by students is entirely their own.

To ensure that high school students understand what constitutes academic honesty, teachers explicitly address the issue with all students at the start of each academic course.

Academic integrity means:

Citing appropriately those whose work is used in the preparation of school work completing school work without the input of others whose knowledge of the task might advantage the student unfairly submitting work for assessment that is representative of the student’s own learning and not that of others, individually or collectively maintaining a level of confidentiality and personal ownership of one’s own work, both assessed and non-assessed

Conversely, academic dishonesty means:

Presenting the work, ideas, words, images, data or arguments of others as one’s own without citation (plagiarism) copying or sharing work with others (unless specifically allowed) in any form (e.g. digitally sharing, downloading, in person) in a way that misrepresents a student’s ability or is intended to mislead the intended audience presenting work as one’s own which has been completed with the assistance of others (such as parents, other students or tutors) in a way that misrepresents a student’s ability making up or altering references, quotations, statistics, etc. (fabrication or falsification)
When a faculty member determines that there has been a breach of academic integrity, the faculty member is required to inform the Principal of the incident.

This an entry-level course. Students are not expected to know anything about programming prior to starting the course. This is an IB course, and is rigorous.

Course Calendar

Topic Week Starting
Course orientation Tuesday 20 August 2019 (in one month and 3 weeks)
Course orientation Monday 26 August 2019 (in 2 months and one day)
Programming Monday 02 September 2019 (in 2 months and one week)
Programming Monday 09 September 2019 (in 2 months and 2 weeks)
Programming Monday 16 September 2019 (in 2 months and 3 weeks)
Programming Monday 23 September 2019 (in 2 months and 4 weeks)
Programming Monday 30 September 2019 (in 3 months and 5 days)