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IGCSE : an alternative to GCSE?

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  1. IGCSE: an alternative to GCSE? Chair: Paul Baker, GA Independent Schools Special Interest Group Panel: Robert Morris, IGCSE Ning Leader and Geography Teacher, Shrewsbury School; Peter Price, Head of Geography, Charterhouse School and IGCSE Examiner Lianne Aherne, Geography Teacher, Wycombe Abbey School.

  2. Edexcel IGCSE

  3. The Charterhouse Curriculum • My personal views; I’m not speaking for my school or any exam board • Thanks to Edexcel for use of slides • Pre-16 and post-16 almost entirely linear • Ethos aiming to maximise learning time and minimise examination disruption • Geography Department traditionally offered OCR GCE and OCR C GCSE • Pre-16: majority of subjects offer IGCSE • Post-16: majority offer Pre-U (only 3 offer A Level) • From 2011, Charterhouse will also offer IB

  4. Edexcel IGCSE • Key features • First teaching in Sept 2009 for exam in June 2011 • IGCSEs are recognized as equivalent, grade for grade, to UK GCSEs • Edexcel Certificate plans?

  5. Benefits to teachers • Familiar content • Uncomplicated, un-tiered qualification • Option to localise content

  6. Support for Edexcel IGCSE • www.edexcel.com/igcse2009 • Electronic copies of Specs, SAMs, TSMs • Resources – tied text published (Pearson); we use New Wider World 3 (Nelson Thornes) • Training, including online Inset • Ask the Expert & Ask Edexcel • UK networking (new for Edexcel?) • Ning (administered by Rob Morris, Shrewsbury)

  7. Key Features of the Specification • Offers more choice of topics for study and less content coverage (teaching time in international centres?) • Integrated assessment of practical skills, including actual and virtual fieldwork • NO CONTROLLED ASSESSMENT • Streamlines assessment into a single, common external examination paper with no fieldwork report option

  8. Qualification Content Summary • Nine topics with three in each of three Sections – A, B and C

  9. Qualification Content Summary - Section A • Basically physical geography (The Natural Environment and People): • 1. River Environments • 2. Coastal Environments • 3. Hazardous Environments • Expectation that teachers will choose TWO not all three to study

  10. Qualification Content Summary - Section B • Basically human geography (People and their Environments): • 1. Economic Activity and Energy • 2. Ecosystems and Rural Environments • 3. Urban Environments • Again, expectation that teachers will choose only TWO to study

  11. Qualification Content Summary – Section C • Addresses contemporary global issues: • 1. Fragile Environments, including soil erosion, desertification, TRF de-forestation and global warming • 2. Globalisation and Migration • 3. Development and Human Welfare • Candidates expected to study only ONE of the three topics

  12. Qualification Content Summary • Amounts to a FIVE topic programme – approximately one topic every ten weeks • Each topic has a standard format built around THREE key ideas and specifies practical skills (Sections A and B) and examples (all three Sections) needing to be covered • Candidates required to study EIGHT fieldwork opportunities (TWO in each of their FOUR Section A and B topics) as part of practical skill development • Sustainable development and future worlds overarch all nine topics/units

  13. Fieldwork • Candidates required to study EIGHT fieldwork opportunities (TWO in each of their FOUR Section A and B topics), e.g. • Measuring river channel features/water quality • Beach measurements • Surveying peoples’ views on the management of coastlines/a hazard event/renewable energy • Collecting and recording weather data • Small-scale ecosystem investigation • Farm production study • Urban Environmental Quality Survey and land use transects • Delivery? • Charterhouse Year 10s cover these fieldwork requirements in a week-long trip to the south of France in June • Shrewsbury do a number of days to cover the requirements in Shropshire and Wales

  14. Assessment Summary • Assessment through one common untiered written examination paper • June 2011 first paper (only one paper per year) • 2 hour 45 minute exam in Q & A booklet format • E-marked • Candidates answer five of nine structured questions, each carrying 30 marks • Answer two from each of Sections A and B, and one from C • Variety of question types within each full question. Incline of difficulty from opening short-response to nine mark extended prose finale (stretch and challenge) • Section A and B questions contain practical skills/fieldwork parts • Past papers from “old” Spec cover most topics

  15. Planning and Teaching • Specification designed for 2-year programme delivery over 5 terms • 1 topic/unit per term • Teaching time guide = 1.5 hours + 1hr homework per week • Teachers free to choose own case studies and contexts for learning

  16. CIE IGCSE

  17. Key Features • IGCSEs are recognized as equivalent, grade for grade, to UK GCSEs - part of Cambridge ICE • Only one tier for assessment • Two or three papers (dependent on whether fieldwork report is done) • Papers available in June or November

  18. Support for CIE IGCSE • Teacher Support website • Electronic copies of Specs, SAMs, TSMs • Resources – Course specific textbooks • Training, including online and face to face INSET • Online Community

  19. Key Features of the Specification • Offers choice of topics for study and less content coverage • Fieldwork Report (2000 words) or Fieldwork paper • NO CONTROLLED ASSESSMENT • Skills paper

  20. Qualification Content Summary • Divided into three themes which have been designed to develop an understanding of both the natural and the human environment: • Population and settlement • The natural environment • Economic development and the use of resources

  21. Qualification Content Summary – Theme 1 • Basically Human geography: • Population Dynamics • Density, distribution, growth, migration and structure • Settlement • Development, functions, spheres of influence, land use and problems

  22. Qualification Content Summary – Theme 2 • Basically physical geography (The natural environment): • Plate Tectonics • Landforms and Landscape Processes (rivers and coasts) • Weather, Climate and Natural Vegetation • Inter-relationships between the natural environment and human activities

  23. Qualification Content Summary – Theme 3 • Economic development and the use of resources • Agricultural systems • Industrial systems • Leisure activities and tourism • Energy and water resources • Environmental risks and benefits: resource conservation and management

  24. Qualification Content Summary • Candidates have to study all topics though only 1 question has to be answered on each them • The skills paper may ask questions across a variety of themes

  25. Fieldwork • Centres may offer either the Coursework report (paper 3 ) or the Alternative to Coursework Paper (paper 4) for assessment. • The Coursework has to be 2000 words in length and the title approved by CIE • Titles are suggested

  26. Assessment Summary • Paper 1 – 1 hour 45 minutes – 45% of marks • Tests Themes 1-3 • Candidates answer any three questions out of six. • There are two structured and resource based questions set on each of three themes. • Paper 2 - 1 hour 30 minutes – 27.5 % of marks • Candidates answer all the questions. • The paper is based on testing the interpretation and analysis of geographical information and on the application of graphical and other techniques. • One question is based on a 1:25 000 or 1:50 000 topographical map of a tropical area such as Zimbabwe, the Caribbean or Mauritius.

  27. Assessment Summary (cont.) • and either • Paper 3 • Coursework (Centre-based assessment) • Teachers set one school-based assignment of up to 2000 words. • Or Paper 4 1 hour 30 minutes • Alternative to Coursework • Candidates answer all the questions, completing a series of written tasks based on the three themes • The questions involve an appreciation of a range of techniques used in fieldwork studies • 27.5% of marks

  28. The Way Forward? • Terminal assessment in both courses • Do endless modules make a good education? • Broad content with some challenging contemporary twists • Broad fieldwork in Edexcel but ‘back to the future’ in CIE • Growing support community (“Ask an Expert” gives excellent access to Chief Examiner in Edexcel) • NO CONTROLLED ASSESSMENT IN EITHER BUT • Linearity in a modular curriculum • Lacks resourcing of a domestic Spec • International board on a steep learning curve about servicing increased centres in their home country

  29. Questions?