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Science iGCSE

Discussion in 'Science' started by CGallivan, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. I am a head of department in a state secondary comprehensive school in England. I am thinking about doing the igcse because there are no difficult controlled assessments. Does anyone know if it is a good idea or will "normal" pupils would find the content too difficult?
  2. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    My school teaches the AQA Level 1 / 2 certificates (not called IGCSE as it does not follow the national curriculum but it is similar in style). There are a few issues with content in the physics I am teaching but they are the parts that my Triple scientists have found difficult (lenses).
    The main advantages are no controlled assessments and, as the exams are all at the end of the course, we have lost much less teaching time.
  3. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    There are no controlled assessments however this can mean lack of practical work and practical skills are essential for students going on to do A level. The amount of content is greater, which leaves little time to do your own practical. Catch 22 I'm afraid but I do not think we should steer away from practical courses because we don't like controlled assessment. After all, science IS a practical subject and arguably dull without hands on. I'm sure we'll all get the hang of controlled assessments soon enough. It's only the first time of doing them.
  4. I am in the same position - a comprehensive head of science. We have embarked upon the Edexcel Certificate, which is basically the IGCSE for about half of our Y9 pupils. The response from pupils has been great.
    The work is harder and I am 100% convinced that this will be a much better foundation for A level courses than what we have previously done.
    Our experiences so far with Controlled Assessment for our current Y10 pupils have been pretty poor and not having to do this with some of our population will be of benefit, particularly to the pupils who have a phenomenal load of controlled assessment when you take into account all of their subjects.
    I do take on board Belle's comments about development of practical skills and we need to ensure as professionals that we give this aspect of our teaching the emphasis it deserves.
  5. Masfar

    Masfar New commenter

    I teach the Combined Science IGCSE (in one year no less!) as a prep for IB sciences. In fact, we over teach some of the syllabus so it resembles an amalgamation between Coordinated Sciences and Combined. I enjoy it. The course we have put together is comprehensive and gives a good foundation for IB (and therefore, A Levels). We do A LOT of practical work. It's up to whoever is in charge of preparing the SoW to make sure practicals are integrated into the course. We tend to do the practical exam as well (as opposed to coursework). I have had no problems in terms of skills of pupils moving from IGCSE to IB! This is with pupils with very little to no practical experience and then coming here to complete the IGCSE in one year in as ESL speakers!
  6. sciencebabe

    sciencebabe New commenter

    I am very interested in the iGCSE - mainly because the coursework is so dire and the students are just not doing well on it.
    The only reason I have not started it is because I have been told that it does not count at the moment in the 5 A* - C or as 2 good GCSE in Science. Does anyone know if this still the case?

  7. Just because there is no coursework, I don't think it's meant to be a route ignoring practical work! The new versions of the Edexcel IGCSE / Certificates are laden with practical statements - but you've got time to do the practical work to support teaching and learning, not just to jump through assessment hoops.
    The situation for performance measures is complex...
    Any course called "IGCSE" cannot be used for performance measures (except, in the case of CIE and Edexcel, for this June).
    The CIE Level 1 / Level 2 Certificates and the Edexcel Certificates in Biology, Chemistry and Physics count towards 5 A* - C and towards the EBacc, remembering that candidates must sit all three separate sciences, even though only two results count towards this measure. The CIE Combined Science course is not accredited - so does not count on performance measures. The Edexcel Double Award Certificate is odd... it only counts as 1 GCSE in the 5 A*- C measure (remember the Government announcement earlier this year that all GCSEs count as 1 GCSE). However, it meets the requirement for 2 Science GCSEs for the EBacc, because the EBacc isn't strictly a performance measure - very bizarre.
    The AQA Level 1 / Level 2 Certificates are accredited - and therefore funded; but they do not count towards any performance measure - including the EBacc - as, unlike the CIE and Edexcel versions, they are not based on pre-existing qualifications so do not meet the Ofqual rules for inclusion. Once they have been running for 2 years, AQA can apply to have them on performance measures - this would be after 2015.
  8. We do both Combined and Co-ordinated (CIE) at our school and we do the alternative to practical paper. If you want your students to do well in that paper, it definitely helps if they've done plenty of practicals during the course. We certainly give them plenty to do during the course so I don't think that they suffer from not doing the assessed pracs.
    I haven't seen a GCSE Science syllabus for 6 years now, but I have heard that some schools in the UK are looking to switch from GCSE to IGCSE because it offers more of a challenge and is better preparation for A levels. I have to say that that surprised me because I didn't think that the Science IGCSEs were particularly challenging, certainly not from what I can remember teaching when I was last in the UK. Also, last year CIE removed sizable chunks from the Co-ordinated curriculum and smaller ones from the Combined curriculum so it's even thinner on content now.
    We don't have behavioural problems at our school, but ESL is the issue we have to deal with. I had heard that IGCEs were supposed to be designed with second language learners in mind but I can't say that I've seen much evidence of that. Unless, that is, they are more relaxed about spelling and grammar when it comes to marking scripts.
  9. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    Some of the courses do, some don't. You will need to check before starting the course (but things may change as the courses become established)

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