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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:49 pm 
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This may be of interest. It has hopefully come just in time for my DS (curently in year 9)

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/education/article7145731.ece

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:57 pm 
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I wonder how many state schools will really want to do this as it might have an effect on their results. Our dc's school does IGCSE at the moment in English and Maths. They are different types of exams and I do think it's harder to get A*s. If you look at the grade boundaries for IGCSE they seem higher and indeed for the Cambridge IGCE are 90% raw marks (not UMS). And this is all on the exam - no coursework to redraft! Dc's school found the switch hard and results went down in those subjects. I think the English is certainly a more rigorous exam but given that universities probably don't care if it's GCSE or IGCSE it could have a negative impact on university entrance. Again, in DS's school last year quite a large group ended up with Bs in English which stood out in a school that gets more than 80% A*/As overall.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:19 pm 
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I think that universities will care . The fact that iGCSE is more challenging means that the results are more reliable especially in English . Very poor English is allowable in the GCSE exams which means that pupils have a very distorted view of how good their written English is.This has a dramatic effect at university where lecturers are often astonished at the quality of the written work in essay based subjects where the student has an A in English. A B grade at iGCSE is a very good result indeed and a university may well see that as a better result than an A at GCSE.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:10 pm 
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These certainly appear to be a more robust test and if viewed as such by uni's and employers it all sounds positive.

How do we as parents know if it will be/is viewed as such, though? It's a huge gamble until we do.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:13 pm 
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Does the English iGCSE now have a Shakespeare element then do you know? I thought it didn't last time I checked and as such thought that would be problematic for students wanting to do English at A level / university.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:57 pm 
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It appears that the English Lit paper includes Shakespeare; at least in the 2012 paper. One question needs to be answered for the Drama section; chosen from 'Much Ado About Nothing', 'Julius Caesar', Death of a Salesman, or 'Journey's End'.

This link tells more about the Government's acceptance of I-GCSEs, the only board currently accredited by OFqual, and that currently Edexcel has a range of its qualifications being considered for accreditation by Ofqual. Dept for Education I-GCSE Press Notice...

This link gives a list of current I-GCSEs offered by the Uni of Cambridge

HTH

BW


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:02 pm 
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Bewildered wrote:
These certainly appear to be a more robust test and if viewed as such by uni's and employers it all sounds positive.

How do we as parents know if it will be/is viewed as such, though? It's a huge gamble until we do.


My DD's school has done several iGCSEs for a few years now. The problem has been with league tables, and, via them, parents accepting it - there is not an issue with universities or employers at all. One thing though, the grades can be a bit lower than with 'normal' GCSEs, as there is little doubt that it is more challenging and discriminating. For what I assume to be this reason, only the higher sets have done it, and only in certain subjects. I shall be interested to see if the introduction of the iGCSE to state schools will increase its acceptance more widely, or if it will remain a niche thing for the independent sector.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:08 pm 
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Amber wrote:
One thing though, the grades can be a bit lower than with 'normal' GCSEs, as there is little doubt that it is more challenging and discriminating.


Absolutely. Therefore if it is seen as the equivalent of the current GCSEs, would it not follow that the 'bit lower grade' goes against the child when it counts? In which case would it not be better to stay with the norm?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:21 pm 
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Bewildered wrote:
Amber wrote:
One thing though, the grades can be a bit lower than with 'normal' GCSEs, as there is little doubt that it is more challenging and discriminating.


Absolutely. Therefore if it is seen as the equivalent of the current GCSEs, would it not follow that the 'bit lower grade' goes against the child when it counts? In which case would it not be better to stay with the norm?


Bring everything down to the lowest common denominator, you mean?

I think admissions officers at universities are probably smart enough to know the difference, and the currency is so devalued at present that surely anything which helps to pick out which of the hundreds of A* students is really an A* student must be worth considering? Of course, a better solution would be to toughen up the grade boundaries on existing GCSEs, or (shock horror!) make them a bit harder.

I do take your point, but do feel the time is right to look at the fact that so very many students are getting a straight run of As and A*s and there is no way to tell who really is an outstanding (cringe) student.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 6:35 pm 
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Quote:
I think admissions officers at universities are probably smart enough to know the difference, and the currency is so devalued at present that surely anything which helps to pick out which of the hundreds of A* students is really an A* student must be worth considering?


I hope the admissions officers look at each application individually but suspect some screening goes on, look at the discussion on this board about 7 or 8 A* for medicine, and then as a percentage of exams sat in one go.

The cynic in me says that if IGCSEs are widely adopted by the "state" sector then a new gold standard will be found to sell, sorry be offered to the independent sector. :)

The egalitarian in me ( cue loopylou and elitism :) ) asks can we not have exams suitable for all? No, I am not suggesting a system with no failures, just a lower level of success, where appropiate.

Later in life many people study subjects that they missed at school, so for lots of kids gaining an appreciation of a school subject may in a life long point of view be valid rather than a high grade I/GCSE/CSE :lol:


steve


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