University GCSE requirements favour private school pupils Watch
I wonder if this might be behind Cambridge's phasing out of (formal) GCSE requirements...
When I was at a VIth form college, the requirement for an O level language reduced a roomful of 10 Oxbridge potential candidates to four of whom I was the only one with a straightforward O level in French. One candidate had a CSE grade 1 in French. That counted. Another had a native Asian language O level done on a Saturday morning. The fourth was willing to resit a failed grade.
The reason for this was simple. Nottingham had a system built around 11-16 comprehensives and three VIth form colleges. The aim of the 11-16 schools was to maximise O level performance so students arrived in VIth form without sensible subject mixes because post-18 education was none of their concern.
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.
They switched to IGCSEs in the first place because they were far more rigorous than the standard GCSEs, and would thus serve as a better preparation for A-levels and university-level study (and as someone who did a weird mix of IGCSEs and the old GCSEs, the IGCSEs were without a doubt far harder).
Unsurprisingly, they didn’t think it would be the best thing for their students to be the guinea pig year for the new qualifications, with no past papers to go on or any idea of how they would turn out. So, most private schools didn’t switch from IGCSEs to the new GCSEs straight away. But over the next few years, if it becomes clear that the new GCSEs really are much more rigorous and better preparation for A-levels, then they will undoubtedly adopt them - many are already doing this. The private school I attended adopted the new GCSEs in Maths and English this past academic year, and will adopt most of the rest from this September.
I'm so glad the thread isn't entitled "University GCSE requirements favour Welsh and Northern Irish pupils", since of course we in the Celtic fringe have retained our alphabetical grading system. The Northern Irish will be doubly pleased, no doubt, as they have introduced a C* grade, which is roughly equivalent to a 5 in the new-fangled system over in Goveist England.
I suppose it's not just UCL who are inconsistent with their application of the new GCSE grades. The TES authors would have blanched had they seen Cardiff University's spin on it (http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/under...ation-reform):
At Cardiff, only an English 9 is deemed worthy enough of being equivalent to a Welsh and Northern Irish A*. A mere 8 is just another A according to them!
By the way, iGCSE boards offer the option of 9-1 and A*-G grading for many subjects. The independent schools I know have taken the 9-1 option; I suppose in order to harmonise with the other GCSEs they offer.
On the whole, I think the best approach to this morass is taken by Oxford University. Their position (http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/under...cations?wssl=1) seems to be the fairest of them all:
In case you can't read the writing, it says,
Oxford University is working to ensure that, where changes are being implemented to GCSEs, our admissions processes continue to ensure the fair and transparent assessment of students applying from a wide range of backgrounds. We will continue to review our policies as the qualifications become more established, in consultation with regulatory bodies, awarding bodies and schools.
This means that:
- A*, 9 and 8 are all considered equivalent (with no higher weighting given to 9 over 8)
- A and 7 are considered equivalent
- C, C*, 5 and 4 are all considered equivalent (with no higher weighting given to C* or 5)
If only every university were as clear and evenhanded as Oxford! (Although that would spoil the fun for Welsh and Northern Irish pupils!)
- Study Helper
Edexcel was harder than I have been used to in the past. There were relatively unfamiliar words such as "organisers" and "monster", also "specialist knowledge" and "contribution". These will not be in the specified vocabulary, but then Edexcel always did tend to go off the beaten track a little vocabulary-wise. The easiest board was actually AQA.
My favourite saying was in the Edexcel paper, "sport makes a red tomato out of your head"???!
The old O level was much harder. In 1979, the French translation contained words like "dodgem cars" and "candy floss". Much more random.
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!