Following yesterday’s news that iGCSEs are being removed from league tables, the TES is reporting ministers claims that their inclusion would have encouraged a “race to the bottom”…
The Department for Education has announced that the qualifications will cease to be included in England’s performance measures as tougher reformed GCSEs come in from 2017.
Less than three years ago coalition ministers were actively encouraging state schools to move to IGCSE, a qualification traditionally favoured by the independent sector, as part of their campaign for greater “rigour”.
But a letter to exam boards from Nick Gibb, school reform minister, published today signals a complete about turn. He says he is “convinced” that allowing exam boards to develop IGCSEs, known officially as ‘level 1 / 2 certificates’, as alternatives to new GCSEs would “encourage a race to the bottom, with each board feeling obliged to produce less rigorous level 1 / 2 certificates rather than leaving the market to its competitors”.
“Such an eventuality would jeopardise the entire rationale for our GCSE reforms – namely to ensure that the exams that students take at 16 are high quality, rigorous and on a par with the best in the world,” the minister writes. “This is not an outcome I am prepared to risk or accept…”
Please also see this response from Cambridge International: Cambridge International Examinations responds to DfE decision on performance tables
Here is the official DfE announcement: Qualifications included in performance tables
Your thoughts on the claims and counter-claims being made here? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…
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