Universities’ GCSE demands favour private school pupils

The TES is reporting that universities are asking for relatively lower grades under the international GCSE than they are for the reformed GCSE.

With independent schools allowed to take the IGCSE but state schools barred from doing so, the entry requirements favour some privately educated pupils over their state sector peers.

The news comes on top of renewed speculation that the IGCSE may be an ‘easier’ course than the reformed GCSE.

‘IGCSE’ is a term used as shorthand for a family of alternative key stage 4 qualifications that are provided by a number of exam boards.

State schools used to be able to take the qualification until a decision by the government in 2014 to remove the qualifications from official league tables. However, many private schools continue to take them.

Different grades are available for the IGCSE. The Pearson IGCSE uses the same 9-1 grade structure as the reformed GCSE.

However, for the Cambridge Assessment IGCSE, schools are given the choice of whether they want to use the numerical system or stick with A* to G.

With the 9-1 system providing greater differentiation, Tes has found some universities have relatively lower requirements for IGCSEs with alphabetical grades.

For example, University College London requires a minimum of C for the IGCSE in English and maths, but asks for 5 in the new GCSEs.

This could mean that a private school pupil with a low C could be offered a place, while a state school pupil with a 4 – which would have been graded a C under the old system – would not get a place.

More at Universities’ GCSE demands favour private school pupils

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