Aims:

1. To enable candidates to comprehend the concepts and practices of Computer science.

2. To develop an understanding of how computers store and process data.

3. To enable candidates to describe the major components of computer hardware, their functions and interaction.

4. To develop an understanding of the fundamental concepts of programming and the ability to apply the same.

5. To develop an appreciation of the implications of computer use in contemporary society.

CLASS IX

There will be one paper of two hours duration carrying 80 Marks and Internal Assessment of 20 marks.

The paper will be divided into two Sections A and B.

Section A (20 marks): This section will consist of compulsory short answer questions, testing knowledge, application and skills relating to elementary/fundamental aspects of the entire syllabus.

Section B (60 marks): This section will consist of questions based on programming. There will be a choice of questions and candidates will be required to answer four questions from this section.

PART I -THEORY

1. Computer hardware: parts of a computer and their functions

CPU, the clock, cache memory, primary memory, secondary memory, input and output devices, communication devices (the aim is not to describe/discuss an exhaustive list of devices but to understand what parts are present in a typical computer and what the function of each part is). Teachers can open a computer and show the various parts; explain how the motherboard becomes a kind of ‘central coordinator’ where all the others link up; point out the various chips on the motherboard that are responsible for the different functions – CPU, memory, clock, boot ROM, etc.

Similarly, it is good to show students a floppy disk and hard disk from the inside (an old nonfunctional disk can be used for this purpose). Peripheral devices should also be shown from the ‘inside’, if possible.

2. Data representation and internal computer structure

(i) Number systems, base of a number system – decimal, binary, octal, hexadecimal representation, conversion between various representations, character representations (ASCII, ISCII, Unicode).

(ii) Representations for integers, real numbers, limitations of finite representations.

(iii) Internal structure of a computer, a simple decimal load and store computer and its machine language, instruction format, registers, program counter, instruction register; register addressing modes, instruction cycle, assembly language for the same computer, simple algorithms in assembly language.

The teachers must review the place notation for decimal numbers, then make students count and do arithmetic (addition and subtraction) with base 2 and 8. This develops intuition for conversion of numbers from one base to another. Emphasize the finiteness of representations when only limited space is available – a bit, byte and word can be introduced at this stage to talk about sizes. Give examples to enable students to understand the maximum and minimum sized numbers that can be represented in a given number of bits. Students can write simple programs to keep increasing the value of an integer till it overflows and determine the number of bits to store numbers of that type. Discuss different ways to represent negative numbers (signed magnitude, ones complement and twos complement). Introduce sign, mantissa, radix, exponent notation and how real numbers can be represented (sign * mantissa * radix exponent). Discuss normalized and non-normalized representations, 32-bit and 64-bit representations. In (i) it is useful to introduce coding systems for other languages – like ISCII (for Indian languages) and Unicode as a standard for all languages of the world. In (iii) a simple decimal computer simulator can be used which has load, store, arithmetic, simple conditional jumps, jump instructions, simple input output. The idea is to give a clear understanding of how a typical computer works, without going into too much detail. The student can write simple programs using the instruction set of the machine so that they understand the need for high level languages. This will also clarify the basic idea of a stored program where program is treated as data.

3. Computer software

The boot process, operating system (resource management and command processor), file system.(i) Boot process, operating systems – resource management, command processing.

(ii) Directories, files and hierarchical file system.

(iii) Programming languages (machine language, assembly language, high level language).

(iv) Compilers and interpreters.

(v) Application software.

One natural way to visualize an OS is as a software layer which creates a virtual machine that is much more useable than the bare machine. This involves giving the user a high level command interface and the management of the raw machine resources (like memory, CPU etc.) so that they can be used efficiently. The languages at different levels (machine, assembly, higher) can be motivated by a discussion based on the contents of 2 (iii) above and topic 6 below. Application software is best introduced through application software that the student will be using like browsers, spreadsheets, word processing etc., this can be integrated with the discussion in topic 7.

4. Social context of computing and ethical issues

(i) Intellectual property and corresponding laws and rights, software as intellectual property.

(ii) Software patents, copyrights, and trademarks, software licensing and piracy.

(iii) Free software foundation and its position on software, open source software.

(iv) Privacy, email etiquette.

There can be very interesting discussions in the class regarding the ethical issues. There can be discussions on copyright, fair use, a program as free speech and Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The students can gather more information from the net. The stress should be on following good etiquette and ethical practices.

5. Algorithms

(i) Concept of an algorithm.

(ii) Properties of an algorithm (finite, definite, terminating, precise).

(iii) Basic ideas of the complexity of an algorithm – space complexity, time complexity.

A number of problems should be introduced to familiarize the student with the idea of various ways in which operations on data yield solutions to problems. (Please refer to topic 6).

The problems should use different forms of data – numeric, nonnumeric, structured.

Students should be asked to focus upon what are the outputs required, the inputs needed and work out the solutions to the problems.

Informal structured English can be used to write the solutions.

Students should be asked to visualize sample data for the problem especially for the extreme cases.

They should be asked to trace the algorithms to see if the expected output is obtained.

This would help stabilize the concept of algorithms.

Simple algorithms for number problems can be discussed here. These can be coded in the programming language that is covered as part of topic 6. Simple concrete complexity can be discussed so that students understand that not all algorithms are the same with respect to time and space complexity. Also, briefly discuss space-time tradeoffs.

6. Programming Using a High Level Language

The programming element in the syllabus is aimed at problem solving and not on merely rote learning of the commands and syntax of particular programming languages. Students have the option to use either BASIC or C++ in order to implement the high level language concepts and algorithms and to use them for solving problems. While choosing BASIC care must be taken to choose a standard version that has “block if structures”, “functions through which parameters may be passed and values returned”. Very old versions using “goto statements” must not be used. Care must be taken that ‘standard and recent’ versions of the languages are used on the computer. It is recommended that students mention the version of the language being used while writing answers in order to avoid ambiguity. For example, software such as Microsoft Quick BASIC, Borland Turbo C++, Visual C++ or GNU C++ on Linux can be used.

The emphasis here should be on problem solving. The design approach here may vary. The users of QBASIC should use the structured programming approach while C++ users may use the objectoriented approach.

It must be remembered that the language (QBASIC/ C++) is just a vehicle for expressing solutions.

The object-oriented techniques are recommended as students learn these very naturally and quickly. Once learnt they are very easy to use.

Simple demonstration programs can be executed on the computer to illustrate various concepts as they are introduced.

(i) Primitive data types supported by the language (integers, floating point numbers, characters, booleans etc. – will depend on the language), variables (and their declaration – based on language), assignment, difference between the left-hand side and right-hand side of an assignment.

(ii) Expressions – arithmetic and logical, evaluation of expressions, type of an expression (depends on language). Operators, associativity and precedence of operators.(iii) Statements, blocks (where relevant), scope and visibility of variables.

(iv) Conditional statements (if and if-then-else), switch, break, default.

(v) Loops (for, while-do, do-while).

(vi) Simple input/output using standard input/output.

The teachers should introduce problem solving through numerous examples and informally familiarize the students with the idea of various ways in which operations on data yield solutions to problems. The examples should use different forms of data (numeric, non-numeric, structured). In the beginning the solutions should be written in a freely invented structured form of English. The informal structured English constructs should not be too high level – they should be at a level where they can be unambiguously carried out – which means they are at par with programming language constructs. For example, primitive constructs like minimum or maximum of a set of numbers, sort etc. should not be allowed (see examples below). Such compound constructs should be introduced as abstractions, that is as functions or procedures. In the process of writing the solutions, motivate and informally introduce:

  • How the real world presents us with different types of data (numeric, non-numeric, boolean, structured).
  • The notion of using a variable to hold data.
  • How the assignment operation is used to change the data a variable denotes.
  • How operations on the variable actually operate on the data.
  • How input and output are needed.
  • How the sequence of operations on data can be abstracted out (as an algorithm) and be repeated on different data sets.
  • The concept of a processor (the teacher) and a store (the blackboard) by mechanically tracing/executing the solutions.
  • How the same kind of repetitive operation sequences seem to appear again and again in the solutions (conditionals, loops).
  • How some solutions can be reused in solving other problems.

Throughout this topic the informal structured English constructs of algorithms should be shown to correspond to similar constructs in the language. Programs should be written for all the examples. Students should run all the programs discussed in class in the lab. Some of these programs will be done only after the necessary concepts have been introduced.

Sample examples:

a) Multiplication as repeated addition.

b) Finding if a number is a prime number.

c) Find the maximum or minimum of 3 numbers, 10 numbers, a given set of n numbers (requires input/output).

d) Ordering (ascending or descending) a set of 3 numbers; a set of 10 numbers; a given set of n numbers. Try to reuse what is done in c).

e) Finding the number of vowels in a given sentence (composite data, non-numeric data).

f) Finding the number of words in a given sentence.

g) Finding out who has got the maximum aggregate marks in the class after an exam in all the subjects (structured data, accessing elements within structured data).

7. Computers in everyday life

(i) Familiarity with software for word processing, databases, spreadsheets, making presentations.

(ii) Basic introduction to the Internet, browsing, email.

Students should be encouraged to use computers to write the assignments, project reports, create banners and placards for school events. They will automatically learn to use the word processors and spreadsheets, etc.

Students should be encouraged to log on to the Internet to gather material for their projects. A number of interesting assignments can also be given in this section.

PART II – INTERNAL ASSESSMENT (PRACTICAL WORK)

Part II (Practical work) will carry 20 marks and shall be assessed on a continuous basis throughout the year. The assessment of practical work should include small projects using software in item 7 and solutions to programming problems in item 6, which have been coded and run in the higher level language being used in the course.

Teachers should maintain a record of work done through the year and give it due credit at the time of cumulative evaluation at the end of the year.

CLASS X

There will be one paper of two hours duration carrying 80 Marks and Internal Assessment of 20 marks.

The paper will be divided into two Sections A and B.

Section A (20 marks): This section will consist of compulsory short answer questions, testing knowledge, application and skills relating to elementary/fundamental aspects of the entire syllabus.

Section B (60 marks): This section will consist of questions based on programming. There will be a choice of questions and candidates will be required to answer four questions from this section.

PART I -THEORY

1. Computer Structure

(i) Logic gates (NOT, AND, OR, XOR) and their use in computers.

(ii) Review of number systems (binary, decimal, octal, hexadecimal), representation for different types – integers, float, characters.

(iii) Simple binary arithmetic, including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

(iv) Computer logic, Boolean operations, logical operators (NOT, AND, OR, XOR) and their truth tables.

The following points should be discussed:

a. Some interesting real life examples can be taken to introduce propositional logic and fundamental Boolean operations.

b. These can be connected to problem solving and programming.

c. Verification of fundamental laws of Boolean algebra using truth tables.

d. Writing inputs and outputs for a circuit like half adder and writing the SOP expression.

e. Using Boolean algebra to reduce expressions.

f. Drawing logic gate diagrams for the given expression.

g. The finiteness of representations should be emphasized to show that real numbers and fractions (that is rational numbers) are only approximated and cannot be represented exactly in some cases. For example, consider not terminating decimal representations of fractions and representations of irrational numbers like .

2. Review of Programming

Review of programming in BASIC or in C++ from Class IX.

(i) Primitive data types supported by the language (integers, floating point numbers, characters, booleans etc. – will depend on the language), variables (and their declaration – based on language), assignment, difference between the left-hand side and right-hand side
of an assignment.

(ii) Expressions – arithmetic and logical, evaluation of expressions, type of an expression (depends on language). Operators, associativity and precedence of operators.

(iii) Statements, blocks (where relevant), scope and visibility of variables.

(iv) Conditional statements (if and if-then-else), switch, break, default.

(v) Loops (for, while-do, do-while).

(vi) Simple input/output using standard input/output.

Topics 5 and 6 of Class IX syllabus should be revised briefly. By now, students should be reasonably adept at problem solving using QBASIC/C++.

3. Advanced Programming

The programming element in the syllabus is aimed at problem solving and not on merely rote learning of the commands and syntax of particular programming languages. Students have the option to use either BASIC or C++ in order to implement algorithms and to use them for solving problems. While choosing BASIC, care must be taken to choose a standard version that has “block if structures”, “functions through which parameters may be passed and values returned”. Very old versions using “goto statements” must not be used. Care must be taken that ‘standard and recent’ versions of the languages are used on the computer – it is recommended that students mention the version of the language being used while writing answers in order to avoid ambiguity. For example, software such as Microsoft Quick BASIC, Borland Turbo C++, Visual C++ or GNU C++ on Linux can be used.

(i) Functions / subroutines as procedural abstractions. Using functions/subroutines in programs.

(ii) Arguments and argument passing in functions/subroutines.

(iii) Scope of variables.

The concepts to be emphasized are:

  • How functions/subroutines help in solving larger and complex problems.
  • How the same code can be reused from various points in a program.
  • Parameter passing (pass by value/pass by reference).
  • Return values.
  • Scope and visibility of variables.
  • The examples done in Class IX can be used to motivate the need for abstracting out and capturing functionality used repeatedly in multiple places. In each example, the complexity of actually executing the function should be analyzed – what happens in the worst case and what happens on average. Students should run the algorithms on multiple instances of random data to convince themselves that the analytical approach matches what they observe.

Examples:

a) Use minimum and maximum functions of n numbers to arrange n numbers in ascending/descending order.

b) Use a search function for a given search element from a given point to solve problems like finding number of vowels in a sentence, number of words in a sentence etc.

Those using object oriented program can introduce classes and member functions at this point.

(iv) Structured types, arrays as an example of a structured type. Use of arrays in sorting and searching. Two-dimensional arrays. Use of two-dimensional arrays to represent matrices. Matrix arithmetic using arrays. Use of arrays to solve linear equations (Gauss elimination method).

The concepts involved are:

  • How a large amount of data of the same type can be stored and accessed by using one variable name and a subscript.
  • How complex problems can be solved easily with the help of arrays. e.g.
    • Frequency counts
    • Selection sort
    • Linear search
    • Binary search
  • School timetable and matrices can be used to introduce two-dimensional arrays.

To begin with, some simple examples can be used:

  • Finding sum/difference of two matrices.
  • Finding the sum of the elements of rows and columns of a matrix.

(v) Review of input/output using standard input and standard output from Class IX. Input/output using sequential files. Opening, closing files. Creating and deleting files. Formatting output. Concept of a token and separator. Extracting tokens from the input.

Only sequential file programs need to be done in QBASIC. In C++ formatted data may be written on to the streams. Programs for creating files, reading them, updating them and manipulating them should be done.

(vi) Characters, ASCII representation, strings as a composite data type; functions on strings (ex. length, substring, concatenate, equality, accessing individual characters in a string, inserting a string in another string at a given location).

(vii)Simple type casting for primitive types; inter-conversion between character/string types and numeric types.

The students should understand why the ASCII code is needed.

In QBASIC there are library functions for inter conversion but in C++ simple assignment from char to int and vice-versa will do the job. Simple string and text processing problems like: substring problems, search problems in a text, frequency problems in text can be used for motivation.

(viii)Distinction between compile time and run time errors. Run time errors due to finite representations – overflow, underflow. Other run time errors.

Self-explanatory.

(ix) Basic ideas about linking, loading, execution.

Self-explanatory.

4. Documentation of programs

Need for good documentation; good documentation practices; standards and naming conventions.

The teachers can show an undocumented program and then the same program properly documented, with good naming conventions. Experiments can be done on how much time it takes for making changes to the program (so that it does something extra) and trying to understand the program.

5. Practical Work

Regular programming in labs. should supplement every topic that is taught in the classroom. The students will be expected to invent algorithmic solutions expressed in C++ or Basic to solve problems and then actually implement and run the program to get answers.

The student will also be required to do a project that involves significant programming effort.

Self-explanatory.

PART II – INTERNAL ASSESSMENT
(PRACTICAL WORK)

Internal Assessment will comprise of assignments and Project work.

Minimum number of Assignments

Assignments as prescribed by the teacher to cover all the concepts in the programming syllabus.

Project Work – One project in BASIC or C++.

Suggested Assignments

  •  The generation of all three-digit prime numbers, mensuration, calculating income tax, commissions, etc.
  •  Various number problems, twin primes, perfect numbers, Syracuse numbers, etc.
  •  A programming assignment on a problem resulting in formatted screen or printer output, Example: forming a diamond shape with the* character in the middle of the screen, calculating and outputting electricity bills, printing tabular data.
  •  A small menu driven program, marks processing and ranking algorithms.
  •  Sorting and searching algorithms.
  •  Permutation generation algorithms.
  •  Finding mode, mean, median of a set of numbers.  File handling assignment. A sequential file may be prepared by the teacher to be manipulated by the students in one or more of the following ways: Reading and filtering data according to given criteria, adding/deleting/ modifying records.

Programming Project

Proposed Guidelines for Marking

The teacher should use the criteria below to judge the internal work done. Basically, four criteria are being suggested: Analysis, Algorithm Design, Coding and Documentation and Execution. The important questions to be asked when evaluating each criterion are shown. 25% of the total credit is assigned to each criterion – so each is equally important. The actual grading will be done by the teacher based on his/her judgment. However, one recommended criteria is: divide the outcome for each criterion into one of 4 groups: excellent, good, fair/acceptable, poor/unacceptable, then use numeric values for each grade and add to get the total which can be multiplied by a suitable factor to get the final marks.

Analysis:

Has the problem been analyzed carefully?

Are all attributes with the right kinds of types present?

Has the problem been broken up into proper segments?

Algorithm design:

Is the choice of data structures proper?

Is the algorithm suitable for the problem?

How efficient is it?

Coding and Documentation:

Is the coding done properly? (Choice of names, no unconditional jumps, proper organization of conditions, proper choice of loops, error handling, code layout)

Is the documentation complete and readable? (Documentation, variable documentation, function documentation, constraints, known bugs – if any)

Execution:

Does the program run correctly on all sample input?

Criteria (total marks – 20) Analysis (mm-5) Algorithm Design (mm-5) Coding and Documentation (mm-5) Execution (mm-5)
Excellent 5 5 5 5
Good 4 4 4 4
Fair 3 3 3 3
Poor  2 2 2 2

EVALUATION

Teachers should maintain a record of work done through the year and give it due credit at the time of cumulative evaluation at the end of the year.

An External Examiner shall evaluate the one project built by the candidates. The examiner shall view the project and conduct a viva to judge the depth of knowledge and understanding of the candidate.

An External Examiner shall be nominated by the Principal and may be a teacher from the faculty, but not teaching the subject in the relevant section/class. For example, a teacher of Computer Science of Class VIII may be deputed to be the External Examiner for Class X, Computer Science Projects.

Evaluation of practical work will be done as follows:

Award of Marks (20 Marks)

Subject Teacher (Internal Examiner) 10 Marks
External Examiner 10 Marks

The total marks obtained out of 20 are to be sent to the Council by the Head of the school.

The Head of the school will be responsible for the entry of marks on the mark sheets provided by the Council.

EQUIPMENT

There should be enough computer systems to provide for a teaching schedule where at least three-fourths of the time available is used for programming and project work.

The hardware and software platforms should be such that the students can comfortably develop and run programs on those machines.

Since hardware and software evolve and change very rapidly the schools shall need to upgrade them as required.

Following are the recommended specifications as of now:

THE FACILITIES:

  •  A lecture cum demonstration room with a MULTIMEDIA PROJECTOR/ an LCD and O.H.P. attached to the computer.
  •  A white board with white board markers should be available.
  • A fully equipped Computer Laboratory that allows one computer per student.
  •  Internet connection for accessing the World Wide Web and email facility.
  •  The computers should have a Minimum of 128 MB RAM and a PIII or Equivalent Processor.
  •  Good quality printers.
  •  A scanner, a web cam/a digital camera – should be provided if possible.

SOFTWARE:

There is a wide variety of software packages and operating systems and compiler available but software has to be chosen very carefully. Any suitable Operating System or Software Package, which is being used currently and is likely to be used in future, can be chosen.

The criteria used in the selection of software should be:

  • It should have a good user interface so that the beginners may learn to use it easily.
  •  It should be used widely and be easily available.
  •  The material related to the software should be abundantly available.

In this respect the latest versions of the chosen software should be made available.

Great emphasis should be placed on ethics. Some people do not object to using pirated software. They do not realize that it has something to do with ethics. It is important to introduce these concepts to the students in the very beginning.

The Council does not recommend any Operating systems or Software Packages by any particular Vendor.

The schools are free to use Software Packages available in the Public Domain Software.

ICSE Class X Syllabus Sample Papers

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