21 Aug '13

News What are your experiences of teaching the IGCSE?

IGCSEs have hit the headlines today for being easier than the GCSE. With results day fast approaching, tell us about your experiences of teaching the courses

News that schools should prepare to see a drop in GCSE results has set plenty of hearts racing among the teaching community today. So it's no surprise to see education professionals, worried about floor targets and the impending onset of performance-related pay, considering what qualifications they enter students into.

One story that's causing a particular stir is the suggestion that IGCSEs are easier than GCSEs. A commenter in the TES forums told teachers that they're an "absolute doddle". An Education Guardian news story also highlighted the significant rise in the number of entrants for the English language IGCSE – which has been cited as evidence of the growing popularity of the course; between 2012 and 2013, the number of entrants for the qualification jumped from 18,000 to 78,000. And this isn't just because of the marking debacle of summer 2012; research by Ofqual also found that entrants for the maths IGCSE had risen by 11,000 over the last year.

It seems strange that these qualifications, which have been touted as much more rigorous than their domestic counterparts (even by the omniscient Mr Gove), could be considered "super easy". Cambridge International Examinations, a leading provider of international education programmes, said that its IGCSE was "the same standard as GCSE". AQA were equally unequivocal: "We ensure the standard of our IGCSEs and the equivalent GCSE are the same."

So although some are claiming that the international programme may be easier to teach, does that mean that it is easier for students? We asked our followers about the rigour of IGCSEs. @bMellored said: "It's not necessarily that they're easier but that they have coursework rather than controlled assessment and speaking and listening." Likewise, SalopSkyBlue claimed that IGCSEs are "more rigorous, less ambiguous and better preparation for A-level."

We want to know hear about your experiences of teaching IGCSEs and GCSEs. Have you found a huge difference between the two? How do they compare? Do you have any particularly useful practices to share? And is one really easier than the other?

Share your views in the comments section below and tweet us @GuardianTeach.

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