DD's GSCE controlled assessments in English being scrapped...

(87 Posts)
Kbear Sat 07-Jun-14 18:42:50

DD (year 10) has come home from school raging because her English teacher has told the class that their controlled assessments from past two years' work in English are not forming part of their GCSE any more? In the light of no actual information from the school at all to explain this, is there anyone here who can take a stab at why this would be. Apparently the Head of English has decided.... they are going to do iGCSE instead. I have no idea what that is.

A letter will be coming home from school next week I am told but I wondered if anyone here can explain a bit?

OhMyActualDays Sat 07-Jun-14 18:48:05

Oh, I can, my school did this last year. People think at the moment that they have a better chance of Cs with the IGCSE (which stands for international GCSE) mostly because speaking and listening still counts and it is coursework rather than controlled assessment, so it can be redrafted many times. I have taught the IGCSE this year and no complaints, although it is quite old-fashioned I think. I think your daughter has the right to feel a bit pissed off that her controlled assessments no longer count though!

Coconutty Sat 07-Jun-14 18:51:06

Some schools are doing this as the IGCSE is thought to be easier.

doyouspeakwhale Sat 07-Jun-14 18:53:26

I think it's a bit off to change your DD's course when she's already half way through. It would be more sensoble for the school to start the new course with next year's year 10 students and keep this year 10 on the same track.

Having said that, English GCSE is much more about skills than knowledge, so all the work she has been doing on those CAs will still have been very beneficial.

Kbear Sat 07-Jun-14 18:56:52

I think it's a bit off to talk to the class but not back it up with factual information for the parents. I am annoyed but I need facts before I can form my approach to the school about this. Thanks for your replies.

She is upset because she worked really hard for two years out of the three - she got As in her assessments - how to demotivate a year group just as they approach such an important year....

bigTillyMint Sat 07-Jun-14 19:32:23

Kbear, that is crap. This is what Gove and those twats in power are doing to schools - making them so worried about their results that they switch pupils halfway through the courseangry

DD is doing the iGCSE I think and I am not impressed - just excerpts from texts, really dumbed down from what I can see. Although it is probably better for the ones who might just scrape a C.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Sat 07-Jun-14 20:06:22

My DS (Y11) has just done both GCSE and iGCSE. As the exams were scheduled at the same time they did one in the morning, were kept in seclusion over lunch, then did the other. I think school is trying to maximise their chances of a good grade. I think it meant one piece of extra coursework, but am not entirely sure. DS is predicted A so we'll see.

They did Literature last year.

Suffolkgirl1 Sat 07-Jun-14 20:23:48

It depends which igcse. DS did CIE. They had no controlled assessment or course work except speaking, the rest was all exam. The literature seemed very hard to me. DS studied The Tempest which other exam boards use as an A level text.

TalkinPeace Sat 07-Jun-14 21:06:01

DD is year 11
controlled assessments were torn up AFTER they were done.

Gove is a fucking maniac who does not give a shit about children outside his bubble

IGCSE is much easier than GCSE - DCs school and others round here use it to bump kids from D to C to get the EBACC

actually I think "controlled assessments" are a stupid thing and need getting rid of
but the way it has been done stinks

Cosmiccreepers203 Sat 07-Jun-14 21:27:34

It does look dodgy but it is actually being done to benefit your DD. My school has done the same thing because we can no longer trust our GCSE exam board to play fair in the exam marking and grade boundaries. It isn't an easy choice but the IGCSE course is more fair on the students but also more rigorous on spelling, grammar and punctuation. Also, more focus on the application of reading and writing skills on the language paper. Hope this helps.

Cosmiccreepers203 Sat 07-Jun-14 21:32:26

Also, the issue often is that things are changed half way through the course so that teachers have the tough decision of letting pupils fail but keep their original work or make them do more work with a chance to pass. It would be really nice if they didn't fiddle with it all the time. It feels like dancing on quick sand.

LIZS Sat 07-Jun-14 21:34:04

ds did CAs as part of his IGCSE, which were an alternative to sitting some papers.

TalkinPeace Sat 07-Jun-14 21:41:58

Cosmic
The IGCSE was designed for kids whose first language is NOT English.
Its an easy paper compared with Higher level GCSE (DD had brought home both)
IGCSE is even less accountable than the other exam boards

BUT
the issue of controlled assessments will not be cured by copping out to IGCSE
or by making all kids go back to exams
which penalises slow but thorough thinkers : who may be of great use to employers if they have been allowed to show their skills

Suffolkgirl1 Sat 07-Jun-14 21:53:29

The igcse is not for children whose first language is not English. Certainly for the Cambridge board (I dont know about edexcel) there is two different igcse English, first language and second language. The former being for English speakers, the later for children learning English as a second language. If an English school is entering children for English second language then that is surely cheating the system.

Clavinova Sat 07-Jun-14 22:20:31

I'm somewhat confused about IGCSEs now - some of the most selective schools in the country use IGCSEs. St. Paul's Girls' School for example use the Cambridge IGCSE for English Lit - looks pretty demanding to me. Is there an easier version/exam board?

TalkinPeace Sat 07-Jun-14 22:23:51

Nope, they were conning the parents ....

state schools were not allowed to use the igcse so it became "elite"

then state schools were allowed to use it and realised it was best for the C/D boundary

DD was insulted by the A* questions in the IGCSE science and maths papers

I was highly amused that parents were paying tens of thousands of pounds to put their kids through frankly lightweight exams

Clavinova Sat 07-Jun-14 22:28:34

Ah - I've just found Edexcel IGCSE - English Lit papers look easier than Cambridge.

Kbear Sat 07-Jun-14 22:39:25

Appreciate all your comments

Tinuviel Sat 07-Jun-14 22:50:06

Not all IGCSE exams are easier than GCSE - MFL are significantly harder; maths includes calculus (with one exam board) and sciences would appear to be more demanding too. Can't comment on English, although a friend's DCs have just done English and were doing whole texts for lit.

LadySybilLikesCake Sat 07-Jun-14 22:56:34

Ds is doing IGCSE's. They are not easy. Chemistry, physics and maths are all A'level plus standard, I don't know about English but he's studying Frankenstein and Jeckyll and Hyde at the same time (AQA I think).

TalkinPeace Sat 07-Jun-14 22:56:43

tinu
DCs are at a comp
igcse's are used for C/D boundary across the board - nuff said about rigour

LadySybilLikesCake Sat 07-Jun-14 23:00:59

Ds is at an academically selective independent. I've seen what he's doing and it's not easy.

I'd be quite annoyed that they have left it this late, OP. They are just over half way through the course so it's a tad unreasonable to do this now.

LadySybilLikesCake Sat 07-Jun-14 23:03:06
Cosmiccreepers203 Sat 07-Jun-14 23:04:05

I've taught the old and new spec AQA over the last eight years and I don't feel that IGCSE is any less challenging for English Language. Where it is different is that the questions are more straight forward but the marking criteria is just as rigorous, actually a bit more emphasis on SPaG.

The Cambridge IGCSE English First Language 0522 is for British students and is taken in many private schools. Would you rather your daughter didn't get the A or A* she deserved because the government put pressure on the exam board to produce fewer high grades, thus resulting in higher grade boundaries?

As for employment skills. The written element of IGCSE focuses on paragraphing, punctuation, spelling, purpose and audience. It covers a wide range of forms, such as letters, reports and articles. It requires that students can both read and write with fluency and accuracy. This can only be a positive step.

TalkinPeace Sat 07-Jun-14 23:07:12

cosmic do you teach in a comp?
as in do you see the full range of abilities ?

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