Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

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Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

#1  Postby Scot Dutchy » Dec 30, 2018 11:05 am

Tilting the balance even more:

Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

Tough tests are forced on state schools as data reveals benefit to independent sector

Tory education reforms are giving private school pupils a huge additional advantage in the hunt for university places and jobs by allowing them to sit easier GCSEs than the more rigorous exams that are being forced upon state schools, new official figures suggest.

Data released in parliamentary answers, and research into the exams chosen by private schools, shows the extent to which the independent sector is still opting for less demanding, internationally-recognised GCSEs (IGCSEs), which state schools are progressively being barred from using.

Last night the Labour MP Lucy Powell, a former shadow education secretary, who received the data after tabling a parliamentary question, said it was now clear that reforms of the GCSE system had put state school pupils at a disadvantage compared with their private school counterparts.
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Re: Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

#2  Postby Keep It Real » Dec 30, 2018 11:38 am

Yes, "English education" is defined by this single Tory back scratch glitch.
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Re: Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

#3  Postby Keep It Real » Dec 30, 2018 11:47 am

And, of course, university admissions are based primarily on GCSE grades.
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Re: Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

#4  Postby Alan B » Dec 30, 2018 12:08 pm

Or £CSE as the case may be..
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Re: Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

#5  Postby Scot Dutchy » Dec 30, 2018 1:24 pm

Very true Alan.
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Re: Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

#6  Postby Fallible » Dec 30, 2018 1:40 pm

My daughter was thrashed to within an inch of her life (figuratively) by the ordeal that was the new GCSEs. Insane amounts of study, some of the material was degree standard and the pressure heaped upon her by the school was absolutely ridiculous. Luckily she is quick to learn so she did extremely well, but these were just stupidly tough. She has recently left in the middle of her A-Levels because the stress was worse again, and what with everything going on with me it was unbearable for her. She felt sick and anxious all the time, and at one point we had to take her to A&E with suicidal ideation. She has masses of potential, could be an Oxbridge candidate, but sorry, it is simply not worth her life due to the unreasonable pressure placed on students. She can come back to it when she's older. Or not, whatever makes her happy. All I know is she is a different woman since leaving. I've never seen her socialise so much.
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Re: Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

#7  Postby TopCat » Dec 30, 2018 4:23 pm

Keep It Real wrote:And, of course, university admissions are based primarily on GCSE grades.

No they are not. They are based primarily on A level grades.
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Re: Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

#8  Postby Keep It Real » Dec 30, 2018 4:34 pm

There appears to be a fault with your sarcasm detector today :taptap: no, it was my sarcasm deployment at fault...it got over enthusiastic in dealing with Dutchy's relentless England-bashing.
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Re: Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

#9  Postby Keep It Real » Dec 30, 2018 4:43 pm

Fallible wrote:All I know is she is a different woman since leaving. I've never seen her socialise so much.


:clap:

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Re: Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

#10  Postby TopCat » Dec 30, 2018 4:49 pm

Keep It Real wrote:There appears to be a fault with your sarcasm detector today :taptap: no, it was my sarcasm deployment at fault...it got over enthusiastic in dealing with Dutchy's relentless England-bashing.

Fair enough.

The other question that comes to mind from that article is, if the IGCSE is easier, why does it advantage those that take it?

The jump to A Level is big enough anyway, without making it even bigger by having an easier GCSE as a precursor.
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Re: Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

#11  Postby laklak » Dec 30, 2018 6:31 pm

It has ever been thus, at least around these parts.
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Re: Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

#12  Postby TopCat » Dec 31, 2018 2:53 pm

I've found this Which? guide on the importance of GCSE grades.

In summary, as GCSE grades affect choice of A Level, and also as universities often specify minimum grades in certain subjects like Maths and English, GCSE grades do have an indirect effect on choices at A Level and uni. However, schools, 6th form colleges and indeed unis have plenty of discretion when it comes to interpreting GCSE results, so it's far from clear that IGCSEs specifically confer any direct benefit to their takers, compared with non-I GCSEs, even if they are easier to get higher grades in.

This too is far from obvious. That Guardian article suggests that IGCSEs include coursework, which make them easier than versions that rely on exams. I'm not sure this is even factually accurate - I've been teaching IGCSE Chemistry as a tutor for several years and it has no coursework. I'm good friends with someone who teaches IGCSE Physics and Maths, and nor do they.

There are also a number of references, including this one, that suggests that the coursework content of IGCSEs is either absent entirely or much less than the non-I versions that have been overhauled in the last couple of years.

As well as my IGCSE chemistry tutoring (with a couple of home-ed kids), I also tutor school kids studying Maths, Physics and Chemistry doing normal GCSEs. I can discern no noticeable difference between the syllabuses, nor the difficulty of the questions. I've been looking quite closely at the new "9-1" syllabus in chemistry, and although it's slightly different, the differences are very small.

Obviously I can only speak for the science subjects, but much as I loathe the tories, that Guardian article sounds like a load of idealogical tosh to me.

As far as I can see, the case hasn't been made for private schools having easier GCSEs, and in any case even it had, it would be making A Levels harder, not easier, thus disadvantaging students when it came to their A Level grades, which much more directly affect university entry.

Having coursework-rich GCSEs, of course, isn't any fairer than those without coursework. It favours those where the parents can afford to spend the time and/or money on 'helping' with the assignments.

At least, even if the parents have paid for additional tutoring, they aren't in the exam room with the kids.
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