More pupils taking international GCSEs

 
Books Pupils starting GCSE courses this autumn will mainly do exams at the end of two years

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More pupils in the UK are taking international GCSEs, figures from exam boards suggest.

In England, the increase has followed a lifting of a ban which stopped state schools from entering pupils for them.

The exams - known as IGCSEs - are taken at the end of two years - unlike many GCSEs, where students take exams in stages over two years.

Overall, UK schools made 50,000 IGCSE entries this year, this compares to the more than 5m GCSE entries last year.

From September, pupils in England starting GCSE courses will mostly take exams after two years.

In 2010, the coalition said state schools should be allowed to enter pupils for IGCSEs.

Until then, the qualifications could not be counted in school league tables.

Two exam boards which produce the qualifications are reporting increases in take-up.

Cambridge International Examinations says 400 state schools in the UK are now preparing pupils for IGCSEs, compared with 97 in 2010.

Among private schools, 500 are using IGCSEs, compared with 320 in 2010.

The Edexcel exam body also has IGCSEs and says the number of schools and colleges entering pupils for them in the UK more than doubled in the past two years, rising to just under 2,000.

'O-level style' exams

A spokesman for Pearson, Edexcel's parent company, said: "The continuing popularity of IGCSEs in this country and abroad supports our view that students should be able to choose the qualifications that suit their interests, ambitions and style of learning."

Peter Monteath, from Cambridge International Examinations, said: "The feedback we are getting from schools is that they like the flexibility of these syllabuses, which gives teachers more scope to explore different topics with students.

"Their linear structure also gives students space and time to study topics in-depth."

Some have voiced concern about the move away from modular exams, where students can revise particular topics for an exam rather than the whole syllabus.

The change applies to exams taken by pupils in England.

Education ministers in Northern Ireland and Wales are considering whether to follow England or keep existing styles of exam.

They recently wrote to Education Secretary Michael Gove to complain they were not consulted over leaked plans to make further changes to GCSEs for England - billed as a return to O-level-style exams.

The Welsh government is conducting a review of qualifications for teenagers and says it will make a decision after that is complete.

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 93.

    I teach Physics. We do IGCSE and I find it prepares students for A Level much better than the GCSE. Exams were too easy and with modules and coursework we could push our students through, only to find it too big a leap to A Level, leaving kids who had got As at GCSE wondering what was wrong. IGCSE is academic: we need to identify excellence, not push all through for the sake of the numbers game.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 92.

    I live most of the year in India and when I compare the educational attainment of the majority of UK pupils with that of Indian youth it makes me realize that we have major problems in the the UK. It is no good to keep on saying everything is wonderful with the UK educational system because it is not and we do our young people no good at all by saying it.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 91.

    90. Mark_from_Manchester

    'So why do we have far less social mobility now?'

    Check the data before using 'far less'. Solutions ... I wish I knew. I do know it is isn't down to simplistic solutions. Bronx Science is an excellent school but it doesn't focus on social mobility nor does it necessarily achieve it. 'For every complex problem there's a simple solution ... and it's wrong'. (Mencken)

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 90.

    72.Anglerfish

    So why do we have far less social mobility now?

    Why don't we copy schemes like the Bronx School of Science that consistently delivers great results for troubled kids.

    Why do we have 6 week summerl holidays when research shows this is really bad for poor kids.

    Why do we listen to the educational elite who caused standards to slip so far when given so much money?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 89.

    #88 Singapore has a tropical climate with heavy rain most afternoons. Being almost bang on the equator it gets dark in about 10 minutes at about 6pm every evening. Its one of the most crowded cities on earth with minimal gardens and parks. I lived there for a few months & didn't see many kids playing on the streets.

    It would be nice to able to afford a maid!!!!!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 88.

    Every child in Singapore has the opportunity to undergo at least ten years of basic education.When mothers work they usually employ a foreign maid to help with chidcare.Less stress,more time for child.They also have the weather so that children don't have to stay in and look at screens most of the year. Different culture supports children differently.Just stop mothers from working long hours here!

  • Comment number 87.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 86.

    85. Anglerfish
    And presumably you're one of the people who claim to have been to a school where corporal punishment was used regularly!!
    +++
    Yes and it's cost me a fortune over the years.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 85.

    81. Name Number 6

    'The removal of corporal punishment from the State School system coincided with a decline in discipline and academic standards.'

    And presumably you're one of the people who claim to have been to a school where corporal punishment was used regularly!!

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 83.

    I sat the IGCSEs 13 years ago at an International School in Singapore. In my subsequent education it was always remarked that the IGCSEs were both harder and more comprehensive, and were looked upon favourably by my teachers. Same goes for the International Baccaulaureate programme I then went on to do.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 82.

    74. Mike from Brum

    ' ... you sit exams which assess two years work in a single afternoon.'

    But is it the best way. I have in front of me my report book at a Grammar School 1961-66. End of year report 1964 is typical for me. Position in Class 27/28; position in End of Year Exams 2/28. Class position was based on homework and work in class. So which is the best indicator of my future prospects?

  • rate this
    -10

    Comment number 81.

    The removal of corporal punishment from the State School system coincided with a decline in discipline and academic standards.

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 79.

    78. the-moog
    JUST NOW
    @75.Anglerfish


    73. the-moog

    'How?!? Look around at kids today, most can barely talk!!!'

    Apologies for asking, I thought you might have a reasoned argument instead of ludicrous drivel. My mistake.

  • Comment number 78.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 77.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 76.

    I have taught both GCSE and iGCSE English. I don't believe that there is a significant difference in the difficulty (not surprising as both are moderated by the same standardising authority). However, iGCSE tests a far narrower range of skills, and is probably best suited for preparing students for academic study, rather than the full range of adult literacy needed for GCSE and by students.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 75.

    73. the-moog

    'The NUT (a strangely apt acronym) have trashed the education system..'

    What a strange concept. How have they achieved that exactly?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 74.

    It's a part of growing up, almost a right of passage that you sit exams which assess two years work in a single afternoon. Of course its scary, maybe its a bit unfair, but that's just like the real world. Young adults are no longer little kids and need to get used to being a bit scared and that life isn't fair.

 

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