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CIE vs Edexcel iGCSE English Language

Discussion in 'English' started by tb9605, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    To anyone out there teaching the iGCSE, 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 at a school in Spain. The school had previously 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. allygator78

    allygator78 New commenter

    Really interested in this thread as we follow CIE for all IGCSE subjects and I am consistently disappointed by the results for English First and Second language. I teach these students for the IB Diploma and they get 6s and 7s at IB but pretty much all had disappointing results for IGCSE. I have noticed that quite a few schools follow Cambridge for other subjects but EDEXCEL for English and am wondering if there is a reason for this!
  3. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    Edexcel IGCSE Language is very clear and easy to follow. It's rather like some of the legacy (pre-2015) GCSE specs in its structure. The Anthology can make it quite content-heavy, but that might suit your students, and of course there's always the coursework option.

    CIE Paper 2 is very strange and it's difficult to see how it validly assesses a student's reading ability. Edexcel is much more logical in this respect.
  4. krakowiak6

    krakowiak6 Occasional commenter

    Ah but that's probably the school telling you what to do rather than assessing each student to see if they are capable of doing 1st Language isn't it? I doubt that the whole cohort are really up to the standard as shown by the 8% As. Mind you there are a lot of schools competing for students so is it surprising to let the whole cohort take 1st Language?
  5. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    No, it was my decision to put them all in for first language. In fact there was some resistance from the school at first. However given that our students want to go on to do A levels, I argued it was a far better preparation for them (especially with the coursework) for 6th form than the 2nd Language, and the school agreed. Besides, I'd argue a B in First Language (which 55% of our students got) is worth more than an A* in second.

    Also, the same cohort that only managed 8% As managed 53% 7 to 9 on the Literature GCSE - so I don't think it was a question of them not being up to the standard.

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