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Igcse Art - Cambridge v Edexcel?

Discussion in 'Art and design' started by dawnmain, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. dawnmain

    dawnmain New commenter

    I have been given the job of teaching Art in an new International school. Next year we will have Year 10s. Can anyone tell me the differences between the 2 exams as I have discovered than some Cambridge schools still do the Edexcel Art course.

    vsadeq likes this.
  2. tomyum

    tomyum New commenter

    I've taught Edexcel GCSE and CIE IGCSE in recent years and would go for Edexcel without hesitation - they are much better at communicating if things go wrong, their Subject Advisor is great and very approachable. The course itself is much more geared towards development, growth, experimentation and process, whereas Cambridge are much more product-focussed and with a greater emphasis on traditional observational drawing skills. The exam papers are also very different - Edexcel gives a single, open-ended, thematic topic each year, with plenty of different interpretations. Cambridge are much more old-fashioned, with the sorts of topics I remember from when I did the GCSE! (25-odd years ago...)
  3. RobMc1970

    RobMc1970 New commenter

    Hi. I understand from reading the syllabus for Edexcel that students do not need to do a coursework project? Is that right? And what involvement do teachers have in the assessment procedure, if any? I have been using Cambridge for years and feel I know them really well and what their expectations are.
  4. tomyum

    tomyum New commenter

    I think that the Edexcel IGCSE doesn't have a coursework component, that's right. As far as I'm aware, the GCSE still does, though - although I haven't seen the new syllabus, so that may have changed. Might be worth looking them both up online.
    vsadeq likes this.
  5. Steve Gooch

    Steve Gooch New commenter

    I have taught the Edexcel GCSE and IGCSE and the CIE GCSE in recent years and would, without hesitation, recommend the Edexcel GCSE. I would fully concur with the comments above that CIE is rather old fashioned.

    The Edexcel IGCSE is not a particularly good course however, and I would say is a watered down and corrupted version of their full GCSE, which is an excellent course. The IGCSE seems to pander to the International schools that only care about the final grade, and have little regard for what the students have actually learnt or how much they have developed. It is essentially run across one term, when the exam paper arrives: develop ideas, present them in the exam, do the exam and thats it. Final grade based on the four submitted sheets of work (three preparation and one for the exam). This is externally marked.

    With the GCSE you are looking at a full, proper two year course, where the coursework counts and the qualified teacher in the school marks the work at the end. This is then moderated by a visiting Edexcel moderator. It's an excellent course and gives plenty of scope for individuality and different learning styles.

    With CIE...I felt like I had gone through some sort of time warp, and was teaching back in the 1950's.
  6. tomyum

    tomyum New commenter

    To be fair (and I've never taught it), the Edexcel IGCSE is what you make of it. Yes, some schools might be tempted to teach just to the test, but the freedom of the preceding four terms would tempt me. Just think about the possibilities for exploring non-traditional media, group work, large-scale installation and curation etc! It would be great to think that you could go off-piste for a bit.

    It would also enable you to put together the perfect lead-in to IBDP visual arts, if that's what your school does.
    josevalcarcel and catinhatxxx like this.
  7. sharon52

    sharon52 New commenter

    We changed this year to Edexcel we taught CIE but found each year less feed back, and what feedback we got was obvious. I find Edexcel very approachable and when you have a problem you get instant feed back. We teach IB in the 6th form and Edexcel allows us to teach a winder skill base that is a perfect start to the IB,
    vsadeq and catinhatxxx like this.
  8. McSkye341

    McSkye341 New commenter

    Thanks for the replies.
    In summary

    • Better communication with governing body.
    • Tailored more to achieving the final grade
    • Less traditional and ‘stodgy ‘
    • Just a Little less emphasis on traditional drawing skills ( although still important )
    • No coursework component
    Do I have this right? Many thanks for this. I am from Australia so I am not very familiar with A-levels and the UK system. Our school has chosen Edexcel. I taught CIE last year and I think it's a good course. I went to one conference to learn about the course content and the convener was extremely huffy and looked down her nose at questions. I also felt I had been transported back to the 50's.
    vsadeq and catinhatxxx like this.
  9. Wolfiefish

    Wolfiefish New commenter

    Do not go with Cambridge! I repeat, do not go with Cambridge!
    Our marks have been continually falling. They took 30! Yes 30 points off our grading! They're exemplar material is totally misleading. Their examiner reports are vague and untruths.
    We are changing, and trying out AQA.
    This is the second time, I've changed from Cambridge. The first being in a different international school.
    Edxcel are also tough, but not as bad as you know who.

    CLARESPEAR New commenter

    I am considering changing from CIE IGCSE to Edexcel any advice ?
    laetitiamartinez likes this.
  11. tomyum

    tomyum New commenter

    Easy to find their specification and teacher support materials online: take a look through and see what you think. Edexcel on the whole are FAR more transparent than CIE (and I say this as someone whose IGCSE results with CIE this year were excellent - I just feel the Edexcel course is far closer to what Art education should be about).
  12. Wolfiefish

    Wolfiefish New commenter

    Hello Tomyum. We have decided to stick with CIE this year. (better the devil you know). I would be interested in seeing some of the work your students produced if that's possible. It would help me get a better understanding of what Cambridge are looking for now.
    Could you please send some images of coursework and exam work to my email address:
  13. tomyum

    tomyum New commenter

    Hi Wolfie,

    Have emailed you.
  14. sharon52

    sharon52 New commenter

    I have taught both and had amazing grades with CIE and then flop down down down This year we used Edexcel and I felt happy ! I am willing to share our work.
  15. mashmosh

    mashmosh New commenter


    I have started teaching in an international school this year. The results from the CIE iGCSE had been getting worse. I have chosen to go to Edexcel. I would also really appreciate some examples of work. As I have changed course with the current Year 11 and want to be as prepared as possible!!


    Thanks so much if you have time!!
  16. sharon52

    sharon52 New commenter

    I have sent you an email
  17. Wolfiefish

    Wolfiefish New commenter

    With CIE we have had remoderation and have the timed exam results remarked.
    Nothing changed. Not even one point changed! I don't think that Cambridge takes complaints seriously.
    So we are off to EdExcell.
    sharon52 and catinhatxxx like this.
  18. catinhatxxx

    catinhatxxx New commenter

  19. catinhatxxx

    catinhatxxx New commenter

    Have had the same experience as Wolfiefish. I have always had excellent or very high grades. Second year in a row grade C's were marked down - a lot! Students worked so hard and deserved the grades given - I have been a moderator for two exam boards, teaching 16 years, and have seen extensive work . Totally agree, the exemplar material on the CD is very misleading. Its not sour grapes, my students have lost out and my track record is damaged. It seems work is graded on ' natural graphical talent, detailed drawings etc, and little marks are given to ideas, experimentation, risks - though these are all listed in the grading rubric. I am in a new school this year, exam groups starting next year and will certainly fight to persuade my headteacher not to force me to use CIE.
    laetitiamartinez likes this.
  20. selnour

    selnour New commenter

    I've also had similar experiences as Wolfiefish and Catinhat. I'm now in my second year teaching Cambridge IGCSE and first year teaching Cambridge A level. I've found the CIE website utterly useless and getting any genuine feed back that isn't copied and pasted from the syllabus is near impossible. To make matters worse I'm the only Art teacher in the school so I can't even moderate! Any Art teachers based in Bangkok willing to moderate? or based anywhere around the world and be willing to moderate via email? Any help would be much appreciated : )
    Thank you

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