Why more schools are saying yes to the IGCSE

30th August 2013 at 01:00

I have taught IGCSE English in a state school since 2010, when it became a viable option in the UK, and have never looked back. It ticked an important box for us, getting us away from the logistical nightmare of controlled assessment. This has given us more freedom in lesson planning. We plan courseworkspeaking units that meet the interests of our learners (and we have the flexibility to plan personalised tasks for individuals).

Speaking as a teacher of the IGCSE, I believe the enthusiasm of many schools for this qualification is very much to do with its "inherent attractions". I'm surprised to hear claims of the IGCSE being easier than the GCSE. It seems people are talking about different things. In my experience, IGCSE English exams may appear easier because they are more straightforward. There are no tricks: they involve good, old-fashioned reading and writing.

That doesn't mean, in any way, that it is easier for students to bank a better grade. Have a look at the dense vocabulary on the reading exams - it is much harder for learners to access than the texts used in the GCSE. The writing paper also demands greater skills than the GCSE, asking learners to extract information from a text and then use that information to write in another form.

D Marwa, Assistant principal.

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