University GCSE requirements favour private school pupils Watch

Sir Cumference
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An example:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-st...atics-bsc/2019

If you look in the GCSE section of entry requirements you'll see "English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5".

I'm very surprised by this - surely they must be aware that getting at least a C in IGCSE is equivalent to getting at least a 4 in GCSE (well almost but it's a lot closer than a 5)?

Private schools are allowed to offer IGCSEs instead of GCSEs which is where the catchy title comes from

Here's a full TES article about this:

https://www.tes.com/news/exclusive-t...private-pupils
Last edited by Sir Cumference; 1 month ago
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04MR17
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Valid point but in a context of university admissions a GCSE grade isn't going to make a monumental difference, especially at somewhere like UCL if you at C/5 boundary area at GCSE it might not be advisable to consider a BSc Maths there.

I blame the numbered system which didn't need to be reformed in the first place for causing this inconsistency.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Notnek)
An example:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-st...atics-bsc/2019

If you look in the GCSE section of entry requirements you'll see "English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5".

I'm very surprised by this - surely they must be aware that getting at least a C in IGCSE is equivalent to getting at least a 4 in GCSE (well almost but it's a lot closer than a 5)?

Private schools are allowed to offer IGCSEs instead of GCSEs which is where the catchy title comes from

Here's a full TES article about this:

https://www.tes.com/news/exclusive-t...private-pupils
Agree that it's unfair that Independent schools get to choose whether their pupils sit IGCSE or GCSE, especially if the IGCSE offers a small competitive advantage with certain unis like UCL. But it is not the case that private school pupils always sit IGCSES, most of them don't.
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XHannahR
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I studied at a private school but we didn’t do IGCSEs, just the standard GCSE
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Sir Cumference
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Agree that it's unfair that Independent schools get to choose whether their pupils sit IGCSE or GCSE, especially if the IGCSE offers a small competitive advantage with certain unis like UCL. But it is not the case that private school pupils always sit IGCSES, most of them don't.
Yes that’s true - I took the title from the TES article.

I don’t see why any UK schools are still offering IGCSEs since GCSEs are now arguably harder / more rigorous. British qualifications for British students I say!
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Deggs_14
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I did IGCSE maths, English and history and geography GCSE and I must say there were a lot easier in comparison to the regular gcse
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Notnek)
Yes that’s true - I took the title from the TES article.
It's a more interesting title than "some private school pupils are allowed to sit IGCSEs, why is that?" I have to admit
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Oxford Mum
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Really, German igcse s were much harder than GCSEs
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Oxford Mum)
Really, German igcse s were much harder than GCSEs
That's interesting OM, why was that?
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by harrysbar)
That's interesting OM, why was that?
I was a private tutor in languages, so I used to teach with GCSE papers, day in, day out. The vocab was limited and easy to predict.

Then, after my son got in for German at Oxford, the school decided to introduce IGCSE German. It was horrendous! There were all these unfamiliar words, and the level in general was so much harder. When I asked why on earth they were doing this, the teacher said after A... got into Oxford, they had decided to go with the IGCSE because it looked more prestigious, and would prepare the students better for A level, just in case someone else decided to apply for Oxford....

I sat there, frozen in horror. So it was all A's fault that M and his mates had to do this awful new syllabus! luckily I managed to get hold of loads of papers and we practised, but I had lots of stand up arguments with the teachers about it, and they wouldn't budge. Luckily, M managed to get the top grade.
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Sir Cumference
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(Original post by Oxford Mum)
I was a private tutor in languages, so I used to teach with GCSE papers, day in, day out. The vocab was limited and easy to predict.

Then, after my son got in for German at Oxford, the school decided to introduce IGCSE German. It was horrendous! There were all these unfamiliar words, and the level in general was so much harder. When I asked why on earth they were doing this, the teacher said after A... got into Oxford, they had decided to go with the IGCSE because it looked more prestigious, and would prepare the students better for A level, just in case someone else decided to apply for Oxford....

I sat there, frozen in horror. So it was all A's fault that M and his mates had to do this awful new syllabus! luckily I managed to get hold of loads of papers and we practised, but I had lots of stand up arguments with the teachers about it, and they wouldn't budge. Luckily, M managed to get the top grade.
The consensus is that the new GCSEs are harder and more rigorous in general that IGCSEs* which makes IGCSEs now pointless for UK students in my opinion.

*At least for English and maths.
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Oxford Mum
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Would need to see new languages syllabus but I am the kind of saddo who would enjoy looking
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Oxford Mum)
Would need to see new languages syllabus but I am the kind of saddo who would enjoy looking
Haha, you’ll have to report back to us OM 😂
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the bear
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(Original post by Oxford Mum)
Would need to see new languages syllabus but I am the kind of saddo who would enjoy looking
alles in ordnung Mutti
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Deggs_14
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(Original post by Notnek)
An example:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-st...atics-bsc/2019

If you look in the GCSE section of entry requirements you'll see "English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5".

I'm very surprised by this - surely they must be aware that getting at least a C in IGCSE is equivalent to getting at least a 4 in GCSE (well almost but it's a lot closer than a 5)?

Private schools are allowed to offer IGCSEs instead of GCSEs which is where the catchy title comes from

Here's a full TES article about this:

https://www.tes.com/news/exclusive-t...private-pupils
I feel actually disadvantaged applying to university as a private school pupil. I think universities should consider the person, and not their educational background.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Deggs_14)
I feel actually disadvantaged applying to university as a private school pupil. I think universities should consider the person, and not their educational background.
You shouldn't ....you're not disadvantaged. You should just be grateful you don't qualify for a contextual offer
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TimmonaPortella
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Tes has found that universities are asking for relatively lower grades under IGCSEs than they are for the reformed GCSE.

With independent schools allowed to take the IGCSE but state schools prevented from doing so, the entry requirements give private school pupils a potential advantage over their state sector peers.
Um... doesn't this make a lot of assumptions?

As to, for example, how the raw marks are translated into grades, and the relative difficulty of the papers in the first place?

Their conclusion is expressed very weakly anyway:

At least half of the institutions in the elite Russell Group of universities have GCSE entry requirements which appear to favour private school pupils.
So, in circumstances in which the grades do not perfectly correspond, half of the relevant universities appear to favour private school pupils. This must mean the other half favour state school pupils, mustn't it? Unless some university has figured out a way to match grades that do not correspond in a perfectly even way?

We understand that there is a mismatch between the two systems and that a grade 5 is equivalent to a low B or a high C under the old system. But to respond to this by raising the bar for numerical GCSE students to a grade 6, which is the top of an old B, is the wrong way round. They should be setting their entrance requirements to ensure that every student who may have got a B under the old system has a fair crack of the whip.
Uh... why? Despite the fact that half of Russell Group universities do seem to be doing that, why should universities, upon being provided with more detailed information about their applicants, err on the side of slightly lowering standards, instead of slightly raising them?

TES seems to be just looking for something to complain about.
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Sir Cumference
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(Original post by TimmonaPortella)
So, in circumstances in which the grades do not perfectly correspond, half of the relevant universities appear to favour private school pupils. This must mean the other half favour state school pupils, mustn't it? Unless some university has figured out a way to match grades that do not correspond in a perfectly even way?
No the other half do it correctly and don't favour either. Getting at least a grade 4 in the new system corresponds roughly to getting at least a C. The consensus is that the new GCSEs are generally harder/more rigorous than IGCSEs so comparing a 5 to a C is just wrong.

IGCSEs shouldn't exist at all in the UK to stop this confusion.
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Oxford Mum
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Hi Notnek
Could you please send me a German igcse reading paper and gcse reading paper so I can look and tell you which is harder?
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artful_lounger
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I wonder if this might be behind Cambridge's phasing out of (formal) GCSE requirements...
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