GCSE vs IGCSE: The debate starts again

21 January 2012
GCSE vs IGCSE: The debate starts again

The IGCSE (international GCSE)

Some schools in the UK have now moved fully or at least partly over the IGCSE based qualifications. These qualifications now come by several names but the essence of them is the same. They offer a more “traditional” teaching with more emphasis on final exams and less time spent doing coursework and controlled assessment. Some highly regarded educators see this as beneficial to their school and pupils.

“… Controlled assessments are cumbersome and time-consuming and restrict the ability of schools like [ours] to provide inspirational teaching for the most able pupils… “
 Head Teacher, UK

Another factor driving some schools towards these examinations is that they consider IGCSE more academically rigorous. Partly because the IGCSE is more similar to the old O level qualifications. Others consider them to be better preparation for post GCSE study.

State School Adoption
Many of the top independent schools in the UK have moved to IGCSEs this has not been the case in the state sector as initially they were not recognised in league tables and schools don’t receive funding (like they do for GCSEs) for teaching IGCSEs. This however has changed in recent years and from this September state schools will have the choice of several exam board IGCSE qualifications aimed at UK state schools in many subjects.

As maths teachers and maths departments we now have changing choices again with no more modular exams but now we have the IGCSE qualifications to choose from. Please let us know your experience of different maths examinations and what you think will be suitable for your school.

Also, we would be interested to know:
How do you think exams will look in ten years time?
Have you recently changed or are you considering changing to an IGCSE based qualification?

Here at Create A Test
We will endeavour to offer a product here at Create A Test that is suitable for anyone taking any GCSE level maths examination and have no devotion to any exam board or style of examination. We just hope we can help you help your pupils improve their level of mathematics.

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