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CIE vs Edexcel iGCSE English Language

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by tb9605, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    To any English teachers out there, what are your experiences with the CIE and Edexcel iGCSE Language syllabi? What combination of components do you teach? What do your students struggle with?

    If you've taught both, which would you say is best for C/D (4/3) borderline students and which for those chasing the A*/9?

    Context: I'm two years into post as HoD. The school had previosuly done CIE 1st and 2nd Language, about a 50% split. We've now got the whole cohort taking 1st Language, with a 94% past rate.... but As/A*s has remained static (around 8%). I switched to Edexcel Literature (and made it compulsory, rather than a niche option subject) when I started - which led to a 100% pass rate with 53% 7-9 this year. Crazy that students getting 8s in Lit were getting Bs and Cs in Language.

    So... I'm wondering whether I should switch to Edexcel for language too. Or maybe just the top set? Hence, I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on Edexcel, or your CIE Language success stories.
  2. longchenpa

    longchenpa New commenter

    Hi I'm the Director of teaching and learning at a small international school and still hold a small teaching load teaching iGCSE English 1st language with cie. I teach syllabus 500 and always the extended. I've been teaching it for 10 years and exam results are alway very good. This year I had 70% A and A* and 95% C+. Over the years my A and A* rate is around 60%. The students are a mixture of native and non native speakers. We also do Edexcel Literature iGCSE and it is a little the reverse here. Students getting 6's there tend to get A's at language. Our lower set are always entered for iGCSE 2nd language and the C+ rate is pretty high there too. (90%). I make sure we have sufficient teaching time allocated which definitely helps. First language 4 x 65 mins a week and Second 5 x 65 mins a week.

    I use a lot of model answers (which I write myself) and have students critique them to pull out and unpack what is required for top grades in all questions. I teach using a range of resources (not a textbook) and weave in exam style practice questions probably once or twice in the teaching cycle. I then use those for very explicit and individual formative feedback and also give grades. I use the graded scripts and formative feedback to then teach follow up and allow students to re-do the exam style question to increase their grade. I also have them work through a unit in an IGCSE English workbook every 2 weeks (which they can self correct, I just mark whether they've completed it or not)

    I have briefly considered Edexcel language over the years but it works so well with cie I've yet to make the switch. Let's see how it goes with the substantial syllabus change they've put in next year (3 source texts instead of 2 on the reading paper).

    We always do full mocks in December and I have found C/D students can be pushed at least a grade if not two before the summer. But things need teaching very explicitly. :)
  3. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Thanks for the reply - really helpful. Congratulations on your results.

    Yes, we've always done Extended too (and there'll be no option not too on the new spec). Do you do the coursework route or double exam route?

    It sounds like I'm doing a lot of what you do... though perhaps I should spend more time getting students to critique the models I write. However, we have less than 5% native speakers - I wonder if that has an impact?
  4. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    PS: I have started a conversation with you.

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