iGCSEs prepare students for A Levels better than GCSEs

Contrary to recent comment [“schools are saying… that [IGCSE] is easier”, TES] education leaders in the independent school sector are of the firm opinion that iGCSEs prepare pupils for A Level study more effectively than GCSEs.

Caroline Jordan, who chairs the Girls’ Schools Association education committee, says:

“Schools in the independent sector have been choosing to study the iGCSE over the GCSE for years in order to provide pupils with a more effective preparation for A Level study. Contrary to recent claims that the iGCSE is easier, we find that its lack of modular coursework and its focus on one, end-of-course, exam provides pupils with a much more rigorous learning experience. The proof is in the pudding, as I am sure will be demonstrated when this year’s independent school A Level results are published in full this Saturday.”

Jonathan Worthen is head of English at St Catherine’s, Bramley. His department began studying iGCSE English for the same reason. They particularly wanted an English Literature exam that would require pupils to tackle a “closed texts” paper that would require students to know their set books thoroughly, as at O Level, and the Edexcel English Literature course has enabled them to do this. He says:

“The content is of a high standard and, because there is no coursework, teachers can concentrate on high quality teaching instead of spending much of their time supervising and delivering the ‘controlled conditions’ which on-going coursework demands.”

St Catherine’s, Bramley began moving to the iGCSE six years ago and pupils now take iGCSEs in the core subjects of English, maths, sciences, history, geography and modern foreign languages. Fifty per cent or more of the school’s recent A Level results in these subjects, which students first experienced through the iGCSE, are at grades A* and A. For example, the school’s A*/A pass rate for maths was 67%, for chemistry 50% and for history 61%.

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