Private school pupils who take IGCSEs have a better chance of getting top marks, the exam watchdog has admitted. The Telegraph reports.
Roger Taylor, the chair of Ofqual, said it is a “problem” that a far higher proportion of children get As and A*s in iGCSEs – the majority of which are taken by those at fee-paying schools – compared to their state educated peers who have sat the reformed GCSEs.
Originally, private schools opted for iGCSEs as they saw GCSEs as too easy and not sufficient preparation for A level. However, in a bid to make GCSEs more rigorous, the ministers overhauled the qualifications by removing most coursework and introducing a numerical grading system.
Earlier this year, research published by Education Datalab showed that two thirds of pupils achieved grade A* and A in IGCSEs in maths and English language, while just 18 to 20 per cent achieved the equivalent grades in reformed GCSEs.
He said that iGCSES are not “systematically easier” than the reformed GCSEs. But since they are not regulated in the same way it means there is a “risk” that a “particular subject in a particular year will be easier and we don’t have the mechanisms to do anything about that”.
Meanwhile, IGCSEs are not regulated by Ofqual, meaning that the number of top grades handed out are not in any way restricted.
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