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gcse verse igcse

(24 Posts)
HisMum4now Sun 20-Oct-13 02:15:55

'Tariq has 13 pens ... Amira has red hair... Calculate ... how many staples John has. '

I certainly can relate to this in science GCSE questions.
Any opinions about the language in Cambridge science IGCSEs?

Erebus Fri 18-Oct-13 16:35:00

I wish our school would get on with it if they go ahead and offer IGCSE Maths alongside GCSE, which is what they're toying with, as DS2 is far more likely to pass the IGCSE, because he likes literal-ness.

We've seen the papers, and it seems to me that the IGCSE asks questions like: "Here are a bunch of formulae, here are some straight maths questions. Please use the formulae to answer the questions"; whereas the GCSE says "Here are some formulae. Tariq has 13 pens that he bought in a "2-for-1, third item free" deal. Amira has red hair. Calculate to three decimal places how many staples John has. Show your workings".


I know which style of questioning DS2 will do better with! I mean, the whole point of IGCSE was to provide an English- measurable qualification to overseas students, whose mother tongue might not be English, wasn't it?

friday16 Thu 17-Oct-13 21:36:23

Sorry, this is the correct Geoff Barton link.

friday16 Thu 17-Oct-13 21:32:13

Last years GCSE marking was a fiasco in English.

There's no particular reason why the problems around "gaming" GCSE can't afflict iGCSE as well. Even Geoff Barton, who was in the vanguard of complaints about the GCSE marking in 2012 (presumably not the guy that founded Kerrang! magazine), now accepts that there was extensive gaming going on with the GCSE. And if gaming does become a problem in iGCSE, then Ofqual will present CIE and the other boards offering it with a pretty stark choice: either fix the problem, or lose accreditation as a GCSE-equivalent. That's in Ofqual's gift: CIE can't just assert "this is a GCSE, you know".

For as long as iGCSE was a little backwater, no-one really cared. But if it turns out that a lot of schools which are flirting with floor standards start using iGCSE and eye up the distinctly gameable "Component 4 Coursework Portfolio" (worth 50% of the marks), then one can imagine regulators hitching up their leather-patched cardigans and getting interested.

balia Thu 17-Oct-13 21:21:17

Should have made clear I was comparing IGCSE and GCSE from the same exam board (AQA)

Would you mind me asking what exam board you use, Pocket?

teacherandguideleader Thu 17-Oct-13 21:17:18

iGCSE is (from what I've seen) definitely the easier option. I can't imagine it will be long before it doesn't 'count' as a GCSE.

Pocketangel Thu 17-Oct-13 21:04:29

FYI Balia: The exam board we use for English language requires two pieces of written coursework, three speaking and listening tasks and a two and a quarter hour exam, with no foundation level.

It is a shorter course than the (old) GCSE and can be covered in a year. We do it in year 10 and then English literature in year 11.

Pocketangel Thu 17-Oct-13 20:59:27

Having taught for 7 years in the UK and now into my 6th year abroad, my opinion is that the iGCSE for English Language is an easier exam to get good grades on. However, in my experience, universities are not that bothered between the two as long as a student has at least a C. It's A Level grades that really matter.

JohnnyUtah Thu 17-Oct-13 20:55:02

Last years GCSE marking was a fiasco in English. And it wasn't the first time, that is a large part of why it is becoming more popular.

That and the fact that state schools are now allowed to put it in their league tables, which they weren't before. So the rise is because it wasn't previously a choice open to state schools, but now it is.

balia Thu 17-Oct-13 20:41:35

For GCSE English Language, students have to do 4 pieces of Controlled Assessment, 3 Speaking and Listening tasks (even though these no longer count to the overall grade) and a 2 and a quarter hour examination covering 3 pieces of non-fiction and 2 writing tasks.

For IGCSE, they do one piece of coursework, one speaking and listening task and a two hour exam covering one piece of non-fiction (broken into 'chunks' at foundation level) and one writing task.

So, it is fairly easy to see that if the school is private, IGCSE is rigorous and offers a high level of challenge to prepare them for further education.

If the school is state, they are clearly using the IGCSE because it is easier and they are 'game-playing' and 'cheating' purely to make themselves look better on the league tables.


Slipshodsibyl Wed 16-Oct-13 21:29:14

As Friday says really. my children did them so no axe to grind here. They might have had more kudos as they are not modular so it was not possible to retake modules to improve grades as it has been with GCSEs. This has now been stopped at GCSE anyway, so there's no real difference and schools choose mostly in the syllabus they think suit their pupils best.

Myp gives no qualification at 16 which might not appeal to many. It is also not especially well regarded by many schools who prefer to stick with gcse, even if they then offer the ib forbthe 16 - 19 curriculum.

Hobbs1 Wed 16-Oct-13 21:20:54

Thank you everyone I feel a bit more reassured that universitys do not discriminate and the A levels are what matters, I know of state school who have introduced them and have an element of snobbery, almost applying that they will have an advantage over students who take the traditional gcse even though they have the same A levels

friday16 Wed 16-Oct-13 21:14:28

We are setting up a senior school and going down the igcse route because they are stable.

Well, there are multiple boards offering them, subject to precisely the same commercial pressures as the GCSE boards. Ofqual intervened mostly because grade inflation had been massive over the last ten years, and there's absolutely not reason to believe that the iGCSE won't be prone to inflation for exactly the same reasons.

If you want stability, why aren't you looking at the IB MYP?

trinity0097 Wed 16-Oct-13 18:39:11

We are setting up a senior school and going down the igcse route because they are stable. Mr Gove last week when talking to our head said he had no idea how new gcses would be graded for the current yr 8s, with all that uncertainty we prefer something stable!

LittleSiouxieSue Wed 16-Oct-13 18:32:21

I have had two DDs do iGCSE maths and the curriculum is broader but the exam grade boundaries are wider, hence the less good can get a B or C and the best can get an A* which is better preparation for A level. Their curriculum included topics my DH did at A level, and that was 40+ years ago (so who says exams have been dumbed down??!!). What ever you take, there is no particular advantage unless you fall into the categories outlined above.

mummytime Wed 16-Oct-13 13:29:44

The iGCSE DCs school uses for English still allows coursework, which is part of the reason they use it.

meditrina Wed 16-Oct-13 12:59:52

The differences, which may or may not make it "easier" are terminal exams (so difference lessening), broader syllabus (as stated in linked article above, and this same point is also used in 'greater content' arguments) and - believed to account for sharp rise in last year - no chance of fiddling with grade boundaries (may be important to those seeking greater assurance on C/D boundaries).

friday16 Wed 16-Oct-13 12:42:28

The IGCSE exam is considered a slightly more advanced level than the regualr GCSE, and is mainly run at independent schools.

Sorry, but that may have been true, but it simply isn't true now. The number of people taking iGCSE English has massively increased, mostly because it's seen as being an easier option. 18000 to 78000 in one year? Anecdotally, the rise in iGCSE is at schools worried about the floor targets, not seeking some spurious "rigour".

mummytime Wed 16-Oct-13 12:35:09

The private schools around here often do IGCSE, I think they prefer the syllabus.

However DCs Comprehensive tends to dual enter its "borderline" pupils for iGCSE at the foundation level, in Maths and English, to help ensure they get a C. They do this not so much for the league tables, but because a C grade in these subjects is becoming so crucial.

No University discriminates on which board or whether GCSE/IGCSE, after all there is a lot of variability in syllabus etc. from year to year. Universities do accept a wide range of qualifications.

askmeaboutexams Wed 16-Oct-13 12:25:03

The IGCSE exam is considered a slightly more advanced level than the regualr GCSE, and is mainly run at independent schools. It can be seen as a step-up towards studying for Cambridge Pre-U or the IB Diploma Programme. In regards to getting into a better Uni, it will not make any difference unless it it backed up with top level AS, A2, IB or Cambridge Pre-U results. If your Son/Daughter is looking to study a key subject at a top tier Uni, the IGCSE could be seen as a stepping stone towards excellence, if they are followed up at the higher levels with top grades.

On thier own, they will not guarentee placement at a better university than with equal GCSE grades, and are not currently viewed as a greater value of qualifiation to the standard GCSE.

MagratGarlik Wed 16-Oct-13 12:22:18

IME (ex-academic) the exam board for GCSEs and A'levels are unimportant for university. The grades are what they look at.

friday16 Wed 16-Oct-13 12:08:17

There is no evidence that any university cares about the board or syllabus of individual GCSEs. If anyone has evidence, rather than anecdote, it would be interesting to see.

It was claimed, once upon a time, that the iGCSE was "more rigorous". The enthusiasm with which low-achieving schools have rushed into iGCSE Maths and (in particular) English in order to improve their results tends to imply this is not, in fact, the case.

KiplingBag Wed 16-Oct-13 11:51:31

My DC have done a mixture of GCSE's and IGCSE's. The latter is exam only and proves a sound knowledge of a subject. Some kids prefer the coursework/controlled assessment route.

I don't think whether you have either GCSE's or IGCSE's will gain you a better Uni. They will need decent A Level results for that.

Hobbs1 Tue 15-Oct-13 23:27:47

I'v just discovered that different schools offer different types of gcses, the igcse apparently will get you into a better uni ? does anyone have any experience on this ?

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