Higher Computing Science

Course Overview

The Higher Computing Science course builds on the work done in N5 Computing Science. As well as engaging pupils in problem-solving activities and providing them with a wide range of practical IT experiences, it also provides opportunities to enhance their literacy and numeracy skills. 

Course Content

The course consists of two units - Information Systems Design and Development and Software Design and Development.  


Teacher-led discussion and cooperative group work are used to give pupils the opportunity to demonstrate and improve their knowledge, understanding and practical skills throughout the course.


Information Systems Design and Development has two outcomes which are assessed at appropriate times during the course.  The first outcome involves developing and coding a complex information system using appropriate development tools.  The second outcome is a written report which considers the factors involved in the design and implementation of an information system by describing in detail its functionality, technical implementation, security risks and precautions and its legal, economic, environmental and social implications.

Software Design and Development also has two outcomes which are assessed at appropriate times.  The first outcome is a written test designed to allow the pupils to draw on their understanding of advanced concepts in software development and computer architecture by explaining code, describing the purpose of a range of programming constructs and how they relate to low level operations and strucures, and describing how a range of algorithms work.  The second outcome involves developing and testing advanced modular programs in at least two software development environments.  

In addition to the unit assessments, pupils also undertake a coursework assignment that encompasses elements of both Information Systems Design and Development and Software Design and Development.  This generally takes place after the prelims in February and is worth 40% of the pupil's final mark.  

The remaining 60% is achievable in the final external SQA exam.  In order to fully prepare pupils for success in the exam, they will undertake additional end-of-topic tests to re-inforce their knowledge and understanding of the concepts.  


Homework is set when appropriate to support and consolidate classroom experiences. Some homework assignments will require pupils to carry out research in their own time.  The on-line resource, Code Academy, is used to further develop pupils programming skills.  Pupils are expected to work through the lessons in their own time. The library can provide Internet access if this is problematic at home.

Recording and Reporting

The unit assessment outcomes and end-of-topic tests form the basis for the information in the pupil tracking reports issued to parents in November, February and March while the S5/6 parents night in late November provides an opportunity to discuss successes and/or concerns.


Mrs Summers

Tues 27th June

Wee test covering topics below and 2s Complement!

Fri 23rd June

Revision of Computer Systems concepts, slides 19-37 of this presentation.  You should be able to give detailed accounts of:

  • the difference between ASCII and UNICODE
  • how bit-mapped and vector graphics are represented/stored
  • the relationship between bit-depth, resolution and file size
  • the components that make up the processor
  • the differences between registers, cache, RAM, ROM and backing storage




Prelim Past Paper Marking Schemes

Perfect Papers - 2015A

Perfect Papers - 2016B

P&N 2017

Additional Past Papers

SQA 2016 Marking Scheme

SQA 2015 Marking Scheme

Exemplar*Marking Scheme

Specimen* Marking Scheme

*Note - the marking instructions are at the end of the file.