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Applied ICT A Level Unit 10 - Advanced Spreadsheets

Note: this page applies to the AQA Applied ICT A level specification. This exam was withdrawn in 2012, with final exams in 2013. The content will be retained as an archive and because it has some stuff that might be quite useful for someone or other

Circuit board imageSection C - Client Needs:

In this section you need to:

Note: as you develop your spreadsheet solution further you may want to come back to this section and adjust it. You might, for example, add some functionality to your system when you start playing around with a prototype. If so you'd need to go back and add that in as a client need etc... (for that matter, you might need to change your section B as well...)

The Mark Grid:

There are 9 marks available for Section C. The mark grid is splits into 3 rows, each worth 3 marks. This breaks down into two clear sections - the client needs (row 1 of the markgrid) are best dealt with separately to the inputs, outputs and processing (rows 2 and 3).

Client Needs:

You need to identify precise client needs. These will come from your discussions with your client and will have been identified, in general terms, in section B - and, probably, had some adjustments made to take into account the skill levels of your client and their users.

The needs you identify need to be precise - they need to be tasks which a spreadsheet will be able to achieve in order to solve the overall problem which the client has. So, for example, you may need to be able to store details of quotations provided to customers. That would be a precise client need. Other client needs could include the need for a clear navigation system or for invoices to be printed (perhaps twice - once to give to the client, once to file in a filing system).

The best way to do this is to create a table:

No. Client Need How will the system meet this need?
1 System must only be accessed by approved users Security will be added using a master password for the sheet so that it can only be opened by approved users
2 Each week's details must be saved as a separate sheet (i.e. the system must be re-usable) A template will be created so that the original sheet can never be overwritten and a new filename is required each time the original sheet is saved

The list of needs must be comprehensive - i.e. long enough and clearly covering everything the client wants the system to do. This accesses the second mark in row C1. The "How will the system meet this need" column is required to access the third mark. Note, by the way, that I chose fairly simple points to exemplify above - the chances are you'll need to write a bit more in the last column to adequately explain how your system will meet your client's needs.

You should also note that a client need is not "Macros are required". You may choose to use macros to automate routine processes, but the client would be very unlikely to specify macros (or lookup tables for that matter). This is regularly referred to in examiners reports as a common error.

The markgrid requires you to show that the client has agreed with your criteria for 2 marks. Make sure this is really clear - preferably in the clients own writing, perhaps in a letter or e-mail or handwritten on the criteria.

As always, I suggest you check the actual mark grid to make sure that you understand precisely what is required.

Markgrid row C1
Note: this markscheme is a copy of one available freely on the AQA Applied ICT webpages. It is copyright AQA and reproduced here simply to make access easier for students. No attempt to claim copyright is being made, although I could have copied the text into my own interpretation...

Inputs, Outputs and Processing:

For this you need to work through what this spreadsheet is going to do in your head (or on a piece of paper - hey, maybe even using a flowchart like a proper old skool hardcore geek...). Imagine how it's going to work:

You might want to start to work on a prototype, just to check some of the details of how it'll work out too.

Once again, a table is the easiest way to address this:

Item Input Process Output
Homepage Menu New quote button is pressed Hyperlink activated to move cursor to the New Quote sheet The New Quote sheet is displayed on screen
Accept Quote page - printing a quote Print quote button is pressed Macro runs to print the print area of the Printed Quotation page twice A dialogue box confirming that two copies of the quotation have been printed is displayed. Two copies of the print area d the Printed Quotation page are printed. The Accept Quote screen remains displayed on screen.

The key to moving along the markgrid rows is, again, detail and completeness. You need to include everything - every input, process and output. This is why you may well need to come back to this section again once you have a half decent prototype up and running!

BUT just because it's in a table it doesn't mean you can be too brief! Examiners reports continually mention:

In many cases where candidates used tables, work submitted is too brief with little detail. It was rare to see any mention of input or output formats, or to see sample input and output data.

This is, I think, what is meant by "specified" rather than "stated" in row 3 of the markgrid. Using buttons, as I have in the table above, is going to produce quite brief rows in the table. It's when information needs to be typed in or chosen from lists, bullet points and the like that formats and sample data is required (for example, if I specify that I want to buy 3 sets of trainers from Beeg Al's Sports Store at £34.50 each then the output should, clearly, be that a price of £103.50 is displayed along with the detail in the invoice row. VAT will then, presumably, be added etc...).

You may want to provide basic annotated sketches of printed outputs - but do keep these brief and fairly basic at this stage.

As always, I suggest you check the actual mark grid to make sure that you understand precisely what is required.

Markgrid row C2
Note: this markscheme is a copy of one available freely on the AQA Applied ICT webpages. It is copyright AQA and reproduced here simply to make access easier for students. No attempt to claim copyright is being made, although I could have copied the text into my own interpretation...

You should probably look at That Blue Square Blog for all the really good other A Level stuff.