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The IGCSE Unfairness from Gove

(83 Posts)
LuluJakey1 Sat 14-Jun-14 21:15:25

For years, Tories have hailed the IGCSEs that public schools do, as much harder than the GCSEs that state schools do. They held them up as evidence of the academic rigour and high standards of public schools.

Now that state schools have been allowed to do them and they count in school league tables, what has emerged is that lots of schools are opting for them because actually, they are much less onerous, have less content, are very predictable and said schools are doing extremely well with them, as well as if not better than many public schools.

My friend mole at the DFE tells me that, surprise , surprise, Mr Gove will reverse his decsision of a couple of years ago and announce, in the near future, that IGCSE English and IGCSE Maths will no longer be allowed to count in state school league tables from summer 2016.

However, public schools, which are not restricted, will still be able to take them and count them in their results.

Who says the Tories are not elitist and don't favour the already privileged!

OddSins Sat 14-Jun-14 22:20:59

Your missing the point.

The independent sector is independent of government. Gove cannot tell their children what exams they can or cannot do. Many don't even submit academic results for league tables.

I think you may be right about the IGCSE English but the GCSE one is hardly challenging for many students either.

BigBirdFlies Sat 14-Jun-14 22:23:30

I think the dfe league tables include both state and private schools. When iGCSE's were not counted, some very highly achieving independent schools came bottom of these tables, but their reputation was such that they didn't care.

There are all sorts of other made up league tables invented by newspapers, perhaps these are the tables you are referring to?

TheWordFactory Sat 14-Jun-14 22:33:01

Sorry OP but your post is full of nonsense.

1. Lots of schools are not opting for IGCSES. What is your definition of a lot? A few have tyo avoid Gove's endless interventions.

2. The IGCSEs do not have less content (I have twins, one taking IGCSE, one taking ordinary).

3. They're not easier per se. I would say they are marginally easier to get a C (now modules are abolished), but the grade boudaries make it harder to get an A*. Tghis is why the state schools that have adopted them have tended to do it for the C/D grade students.

4. Many independent schools which use IGCSE have no interest in the C/D students: they are selective so it's not an issue.

5. Many selective indepenedent schools do not rise or fall on thie GCSE results! League tables at that stage are of minor importance. They rise and fall on the A level results and, perhaps more importantly, the leaver destination results. If these schools feel the IGCE is better prep for the latter, they will continue, whatever Mr Gove, or you, or the man next door says grin.

LuluJakey1 Sat 14-Jun-14 22:38:26

Not at all. That is exactly my point. Independent schools can do as they like.

Children whose parents can not pay for those schools- or would not on a point of principle- suffer the ludicrous, ill- informed Gove inflicting an education on them.

They will have to take Gove's new GCSE's, designed specifically to stop as many children gaining C+ grades; as many state school children that is.

LuluJakey1 Sat 14-Jun-14 22:40:38

My objection is not to the freedom independent schools have, it is to the power a twat like Gove has to inflict his madness on state school children when he knows nothing about state school education.

AuntieStella Sat 14-Jun-14 22:41:17

Independent schools used chose to use them mainly because they have always been by final exam and because the choice of texts was more flexible.

State schools moved over to them in larger numbers because the permission to include them in league tables coincided with the shenanigans over grade boundaries, as the IGCSE was not affected.

TheWordFactory Sat 14-Jun-14 22:43:07

Well to be fair lulu state schools have had the freedom to get their pupils to take linear GCSEs for a long time- which would have adequately challenged IGCSEs.

But most didn't.

They opted for the modular, resiterama that was on offer!

They've only jumped ship because they're no longer available and are now hoping IGCSE helps out...

LuluJakey1 Sat 14-Jun-14 22:43:29

So why should state schools not be able to continue to opt for them? Mr Gove's actions are designed to stop that by making them not able to be counted in performance tables.

Nocomet Sat 14-Jun-14 22:46:33

My dyslexic DD1, who has been working really hard for her GCSEs especially English lang, would be delighted to hear you calling it 'hardly challenging'.

Higher tier GCSEs have to caterer for all A-C DCs not just the A*s.

DD1 and me think Biology exams are too easy and Dh did additional maths while spending 1/2 the lessons doing Latin.

The examining boards can only do their best to produce exams that are challenging to the very brightest without scaring the least able.

A biology exam to challenge DD1 or an English exam to challenge DD2 would need to be AS level and that's not the point.

Slummiemummie Sun 15-Jun-14 07:19:18

And Mr Gove is always right eh?
OP have you looked at any iGCSE exams? Have you done a rigorous comparison? Stop undermining what our young people are working towards.

EdithWeston Sun 15-Jun-14 07:33:27

Here's a BBC article from 2010 about this

They say that OFQUAL had endorsed the standard of 16 IGCSE exams by 2006, but the government refused to allow them to be accredited. The political problem seems to come from lack of alignment with the NC rather than anything else.

Labour was at that time pushing its Diploma instead.

creamteas Sun 15-Jun-14 07:50:00

state schools have had the freedom to get their pupils to take linear GCSEs for a long time

Not sure this is the case, as far as I know most GCSEs did not offer both modular and linear assessment options.

LuluJakey1 Sun 15-Jun-14 09:54:44

slummiemummie Are you talking to me when you say OP?

If you are, yes I have. I am a Deputy Head in a state school and have done just such a comparison between iGCSE English and English Lit and non iGCSE English and English Lit. The iGCSE is much more focussed, predictable and teachable. Students understand the structure of it andgrasp the skills required as they are straightforward, very traditional writing and reading skills. The coursework is brief and does not require hugh or multiple texts to be studied. My school really likes it/ them. We want to be able to keep doing them.

Have you misunderstood my argument? I am not criticising iGCSEs. I want to be allowed to continue to teach them to our students, like independent schools will be able to.

happygardening Sun 15-Jun-14 09:58:29

The IGCSE is easier than the GCSE debate has just been discussed on another thread. The argument is illogical why would the super selectives independents with often 90%+ achieving A*/A's at Pre U/A levels choose to enter their pupils into easier GCSE's when they have such exceedingly high expectations for their pupils? Secondly as many of these super selectives have gone over in part or completely to the significantly harder Pre U again logic would tell you that you wouldn't enter their pupils into an easier IGCSE that didn't prepare then adequately.
creamteas I might wrong but I think some IGCSE boards do have course work and for the CIE Eng Lang IGCSE there definitely was course work but only worth 10% of the mark and I think a field trip analysis thing for geography although this is normal even I did that 30 years ago and art/DT of course have course work, but not for any of the other main academic subjects. The MFL IGCSE is widely acknowledged by teachers to be significantly more rigourous.

TheWordFactory Sun 15-Jun-14 10:02:06

creamteas I believe that some of the selective state schools (eg Colyton) had their students sitting terminal GCSEs rather than modular...

Most state schools however di not follow suit. They had all their students sitting and re-sitting modules - which is what de-valued our perfectly good system in the first place.

happygardening Sun 15-Jun-14 10:02:32

Lulu I'm assuming rather requirements by the different examining boards setting IGCSE papers varies considerably my DS's school only uses CIE. As I said on the other thread I bloody hope the sciences are more rigorous I was stunned at the low level expected of DS1 for the higher GSCE science papers no wonder struggle in the 6 th form.

HercShipwright Sun 15-Jun-14 11:19:26

Cream - DD1's school has, AFAIA, always done linear GCSEs. Certainly for the 5 years she has been there.

HercShipwright Sun 15-Jun-14 11:21:25

To clarify - where controlled assessments or coursework are part of the exam then obviously they did those. But it has been all terminal exams not modules each sitting.

I think that the school has done modules at A level but I might be wrong there.

creamteas Sun 15-Jun-14 11:33:51

word Some schools chose to sit all the modular exams at the end. This does not mean that they were terminal assessment papers.

It is not when you take them that is the difference between modular and terminal assessment, it is in the style.

So modular assessment is designed around discrete units of work with their own assessment. (so you could pass unit 1 never having studied unit 2)

Terminal assessment is where there is supposed to be a whole course approach, so in theory, all parts of the courses are drawn on in all parts of assessment (so both exam 1 and 2 draw from the same skills and/or knowledge).

Nocomet Sun 15-Jun-14 11:43:49

I totally agree OP it should be the schools choice, not mr Goves.

If exams are accredited as being GCSE standard by an external body, they should be open to all schools to use.

CAs and loosing her speaking and listening mark may well cost her her much wanted B.

The way CAs are timetabled at her school means she has two from really early in Y10 (aged 14) she'd have written them so much better now.

14-16y are still very much still growing up, schools should be able to choose exams that fit the maturity of their pupils.

DD1's set 3 and DD2's set 1 are very different. DD2 bounced out of primary able to write well enough that she could probably have coped in the adult world without another English lesson in her life. There is just no comparison.

hairpinharriet Wed 25-Jun-14 23:58:54

My DC has just completed 10 GCSEs in the new linear format. It appeared very repetitive, and in places process driven. My friend`s DD who attends a Independent school sat 10 IGCSEs. There were fewer exams and those she took appeared better structured and more relevant, particularly the English. We need uniformity in public exams to ensure standards are consistent between the two sectors. If IGCSE English is a better preparation lets all do it.

Cerisier Thu 26-Jun-14 01:21:20

DD sat IGCSEs in the 3 sciences and I was very impressed with the content. They were definitely harder than the O levels I sat 30 years ago.

hairpinharriet Thu 26-Jun-14 23:03:27

Yes the content of IGCSE science does seem more balanced, the new linear from modular scheme was particularly bizarre. Would mot want to lose some of the more usefully elements as currently IGSCE science has no practical exam ..somewhat odd given most sciences combine academic and practical knowledge

waterhorse123 Sat 28-Jun-14 10:10:41

Whatever the exam taken, whether it is a new type of GCSE, an old type or the IGCSE, a child of moderate ability will not be able to do one better than the others if he or she has not been taught better.
If you move the grade boundaries and make it harder to get a C, it does not mean your child has got a lower percentage in the exam, it means that the percentage required to pass the exam has been raised, and so it should be.
By continuously lowering exam pass boundaries, we have devalued the qualification itself and made it next to worthless.
I have heard of prospective employers asking what grade a candidate obtained at GCSE level and discounting the lower pass grades, particularly C grades.
I have looked extensively at grade boundaries and been horrified that they are so low for the lowest pass grade, particularly in Maths. I have looked at marking guidance notes, and the list of "acceptable" responses in foreign languages where so long as something would sound like the answer if pronounced, it is marked as correct. Think "c'est, ses, sait, sais, etc).
My own older children sat GCSEs (some years ago now) and did NO work (of course they only told me this many years later as I would have had a fit at the time when I thought they were revising diligently) yet did not fail anything and got good grades. My youngest child sat the IGCSE French aged 12 and sailed it, and I had revised some past papers beforehand with him of both GCSE and IGCSE and found the latter marginally more exacting, but not much. GCSE level was laughable in fact, and IGCSE not much better.
We are the laughing stock of the world with the poor standards of state education in this country, and only recently it was reported on the national news that poor white children in this country are the lowest subsection of achievers in our schools with a paltry 30% or so of them gaining 5 GCSEs at pass level. This is appalling and should be redressed.
My own mother and her two sisters grew up in the back streets of Manchester in very poor circumstances in the twenties and thirties, yet all three of them won grammar school places which their terminally ill father (who had himself won a place at Manchester Grammar School at the turn of the century but whose parents had needed him to go out to work which prevented him from going) made sure they went. He died, but their mother, my grandmother, made sure her girls got the education he wanted for them. All three went to University, and one, the youngest, went to both Oxford and then Harvard. Proof that in the past you could pull yourself out of the darkest hole of poverty by your own intelligence with the help of grammar school education and good old fashioned O levels.
Nowadays these three very bright girls would have gone to local sink comprehensives and been pregnant by the time they left, or gone into local poorly paid jobs after possibly getting a few GCSEs at C grade or below. Because they would have been in that lowest achieving band of pupils in the UK.
Why people feel they keep having to interfere with things that work I have no idea. I was grammar school educated myself, my partner went to a secondary modern and is the cleverest man I know. He got a good education and so did I. It worked.
Sorry, getting down off my high horse now.

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