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Comparing a few programming languages to use for GCSE (OCR flavour)

A quick comparison. How do different programming languages meet the programming techniques that OCR ask to be covered for GCSE.

Phil Gardner

Created by Phil Gardner
last edited Mar 06 2021 by Phil Gardner



(Still a…) Work in progress! Not quite finished and by no means exhaustive. This is a ROUGH comparison. A simple overview.

I drew this up this week after reading a question by Richard Pawson. Richard asked what (if any!?) analysis anyone carried out prior to Python becoming so popular.

Did anyone every objectively look at languages side by side? Did anyone consider in depth what OCR GCSE require in terms of programming?

I’m not sure that they did in detail. They may have considered “hello world” style programs, but not a wide range of typical GCSE tasks.

Currently compares: - OCR Reference Language (A language Formerly Known As Pseudo Code). - C# - C++ - Java - Pascal - Python

…in terms of the programming constructs and techniques that OCR lay out in the J277 GCSE Specification.

I have added simple examples where appropriate - but rough at the moment and not complete yet.

I have tried to be as objective as possible in my comparisons.

For the record, I use Small Basic, C++ and Python. The proportions vary, depending on the year group and ability range. Thinking about it, BBC Basic is very different and many varieties offer functions and procedures beyond the capabilities of Small Basic.

And I’ll say it again: It isn’t the language you use… it is HOW you choose to use the features that the language offers to solve your problem. The style of your code is massively important, as are the examples you present in the classroom, the tasks you give students to attempt as well as the methods of support you provide.

Stop-press: Updated with more detail. Getting there…

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