Digi Trailblazers - Key Stage 3 - NCC Education

Digi Trailblazers – Key Stage 3

NCC Education’s Digi-Trailblazers:

  • is suitable for candidates at Key Stage 3 of the English national curriculum (ages 11–14) as well as older (including adult) learners
  • builds on students’ understanding of digital safety and security while also allowing them to practise the application of computational thinking and problem-solving to produce exciting digital artefacts and computer programs
  • prepares candidates to be the next generation of digital innovators – Digi-Trailblazers not only deepens students’ understanding so that they can be critical consumers of hardware and software but also greatly improves their computational thinking, programming skills and ability to manage digital projects, which will continue to lay the foundation for them to become active producers of new and imaginative software.
  • provides teachers with a fresh and innovative syllabus containing all the concepts, activities and resources to be able to deliver with confidence the new programming elements of the English national curriculum
  • is quality assured by a UK awarding body with considerable expertise in providing high‑quality IT/Computing qualifications and programmes
  • sits within NCC Education’s well-established suite of IT and Business qualifications, which are recognised and valued by employers and universities worldwide
  • has the following key syllabus features designed by UK teaching specialists to aid effective candidate preparation: key terminology, warm up activities, core activities, cross-curricular links and resources.

The Digi-Trailblazers syllabus and assessment is suitable for candidates aged 11–14 (at Key Stage 3 of the English national curriculum) as well as older (including adult) learners.

It is expected that candidates who are non-native English speakers are able to cope with the demands of preparing for and taking the Digi-Trailblazers assessment in English.

The Digi-Trailblazers syllabus contains the following topics, topic sections and learning outcomes. Syllabus topics may be covered in any order (as best suits the requirements of the candidates and their wider curriculum) but the suggested snowball activity assumes that the order presented below is followed.

Topic Topic Section Learning Outcomes
Digital Safety and Security
  • Using Computers Safely and Security
  • Keeping Yourself and Your Friends Safe Online
  • Know how to work safely and securely.
  • Know how to report concerns about online safety or security.
  • Understand the consequences to users of not using technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely.
  • Know how to work respectfully and responsibly online.
Solving Problems with Algorithms
  • Understanding and Developing Algorithms
  • Comparing and Evaluating Algorithms
  • Understand that there are different types of algorithm.
  • Know how to develop algorithms that fulfil a range of functions.
  • Understand that a single problem can be solved by using several different algorithms.
Computer Instructions and Data Types
  • Storing and Executing Computer Instructions
  • Representing and Manipulating Different Types of Data
  • Understand how instructions are stored and executed within a computer system.
  • Understand how different data types can be represented and manipulated.
Designing and Developing Computer Programs
  • Designing Computer Programs
  • Creating Computer Programs
  • Testing and Improving a Computer Program
  • Know how to create plans that outline the steps that a computer program will need to follow in order to solve a problem.
  • Understand programming terminology.
  • Know how to write in code using appropriate data structures.
  • Know how to correct errors in syntax and meaning in a program.
Snowball Activity
Exploring Computer Logic and Number Representation
  • Boolean Logic and its Uses
  • Binary Numbers and Calculations
  • Understand the purpose and application of Boolean logic.
  • Understand the term binary.
  • Know how to convert binary and decimal numbers.
Computational Thinking
  • Understanding Computer Models and Simulations
  • Designing Computer Models and Simulations
  • Using and Evaluating Computer Models
  • Understand that there are different types of computer models and simulations.
  • Understand that computer models can be used to break down tasks and problems into manageable parts.
  • Know how to design and construct computer models and simulations that represent real-world problems.
  • Know how to use computer models and understand how they model problems and systems.
  • Assess the accuracy and make improvements to computer models that represent real-world problems and physical systems.
Discovering How Computer Hardware and Software works
  • Computer Components and Peripherals
  • Understanding How Software Works
  • Discovering How Computers Communicate With Other Systems
  • Understand that there are different types of computer system.
  • Understand how internal hardware components work and communicate with each other.
  • Understand the functions of different types of software.
  • Understand the interaction between hardware and software components.
  • Understand the interaction between a computer system and a network.
Managing a Digital Project
  • Collecting and Analysing Data Presenting Data Digitally
  • Understand how to use appropriate methods and devices to collect and analyse data.
  • Know how to present information clearly and effectively for a designated target audience.
Developing a Digital Artefact
  • Designing a Digital Artefact
  • Creating a Digital Artefact
  • Reusing or Repurposing a Digital Artefact
  • Know how to design a digital artefact for a particular target audience.
  • Understand how to use appropriate techniques and technologies to create a digital artefact.
  • Understand how to revise or repurpose a digital artefact.

Digi-Trailblazers is assessed by a single two-part examination once candidates have completed their preparation. This single examination consists of a written theory component and a practical component. All learning outcomes are satisfied by this single examination.

The single examination’s theoretical and practical component can be delivered independently to enable more flexible delivery (for ease of timetabling) and to provide candidates with the opportunity to engage with the assessment in two short sessions, to aid their concentration.

In addition, guidance is provided for a mid-point snowball activity, to be developed and delivered by teachers. This can be used as a ‘mini-project progress check’, a formative tool for delivering the remaining part of the candidates’ preparation or even as a diagnostic tool to assess candidate suitability for entry at a specific level. Please note that snowball activities are not managed or assessed in any way by NCC Education.

The written theoretical component of the single examination comprises multiple-choice questions (Part A) and a number of more specialised multi-part questions (Part B), linked to the qualification’s Learning Outcomes. The practical component (Part C) will require candidates to complete one or more tasks. The three parts of the assessment will allow candidates to demonstrate that they have met the qualification’s Learning Outcomes – in other words, that they can successfully demonstrate their knowledge and comprehension of the subject matter in addition to computational problem-solving and practical skills.

View a Sample Assessment here.

View a Sample Mark Scheme here.