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Edexcel vs OCR at GCSE

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by janem42, Jun 4, 2020.

  1. janem42

    janem42 New commenter

    We do Edexcel GCSE and have done for years. However several local schools (I'm in Berkshire) have changed over the last few years to do OCR at Foundation, and their results have improved. I wouldn't mind but ours took a definite dip at Grade 4 last year.
    Several members of my department want to change to OCR for Foundation because of this. My HOD is unsure - I am KS4 coordinator and looking at rewriting our SOW with the three I's over the next few weeks
    I have obviously done a lot of research online over last few days and my general perception is that the wording of the OCR Foundation papers is more straightforward but wondered if anyone has done this (made the change) and what their thoughts are on it. We are not changing at Higher - we do Edexcel at A level and like the continuity. Obviously grade boundaries change annually so this would be a long term change.About 50% of our cohort sit Foundation
    Any thoughts?
  2. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    While the specifications are identical, so you could make the change with very little difficulty, this idea of "exam board chasing" is a terrible one. Schools used to change every couple of years because they believed the exams were "easier". Some schools even entered students for 2 exam boards and students used the better grade. Ofqual regulate this very well and there is no reason to assume that OCR will give better results in future years. Your "several local schools" may have any number of reasons why their results improved, and changing board may not be one of them.
    janem42 likes this.
  3. janem42

    janem42 New commenter

    Agreed and all very true - if we make a change it will be long term and for the right reasons. I suppose more than anything I am just interested to find out if anyone has any experience of changing between these boards - whether it has been successful as in have results at least stayed the same or improved, whether pupils do indeed find questions more straightforward on OCR papers, whether there are any outstanding resources for OCR that I have missed. Edexcel have excellent resources and support and I have taught with them for many years, but I don't want to rule a change of board out just because 'we have always done Edexcel so that's what we are staying with'
  4. strawbs

    strawbs Established commenter

    OCR support/resources are fairly decent. Nice "check-in tasks" for each unit on their SoW
  5. Alexdiver

    Alexdiver New commenter

    At the Just Maths Conf last year - there was quite a good "Sell" from the OCR guy to move to OCR for foundation. We didnt, but i can see the benefits
  6. Voltamaths

    Voltamaths New commenter

    Have you ever thought of the Edexcel IGCSE in maths for Foundation students? The Edexcel IGCSE is used by many leading independent schools for their students. The greatest advantage lies in the fact that calculators can be used for all the papers. This takes away the disadvantage that many struggling Foundation students have, not knowing their times tables off by heart. It is amazing to see how much confidence we can infuse in them once this handicap is removed. And they only have to sit 2 papers!
    See this link if you are interested.

  7. strawbs

    strawbs Established commenter

    is the IGCSE recognized as a "counting" qualification for state schools? I wasn't sure it was any more..
    If not, I highly doubt any schools would allow it as the pupils would not count for progress measures.
  8. Voltamaths

    Voltamaths New commenter

    Sorry, I was not aware that there would be a distinction between qualifications offered to state and independent schools. I assumed what is good enough for one and is offered to schools in the Uk should be a good choice for the other too.
  9. camillapt

    camillapt New commenter

    I'm afraid it doesn't count, no - it doesn't attract funding in state schools!!
  10. Voltamaths

    Voltamaths New commenter

    That is a pity! I had at one time believed in the non-negotiability of a non-calculator paper exam. But having seen very many students who have reached year 11, who don’t know their times tables and have come to believe they can’t be good at maths and seeing the transformation in their ability to do maths as soon as the impediment of times tables knowledge is removed, I am an advocate for the Pearson IGCSE maths papers , especially for those sitting the Foundation exam.

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