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THE UK SECTION:British sceptical of quality of GCSE exams

British sceptical of quality of GCSE exams
Many independent (private)schools are dropping the state-approved GCSEs in favour of the international versions (international GCSE = IGCSE), because the latter are viewed as more challenging and as a better preparation for A-levels. GCSE exams (like Sek.I-Abschluß) are set for 16-year-olds before they choose their A'level subjects.
The new exams have mainly been developed for schools overseas and are closer to the former O-levels, scrapped in 1987, rather than to ordinary GCSEs.
Ministers have refused to allow IGCSEs to be included in results of exam tables because the exams do not have official approval. State schools, even the highest achieving, cannot switch to the IGCSE because the government will fund only officially approved courses.
The IGCSE is growing in popularity among private schools (like Harrow, Rugby and Manchester grammar). Cambridge International Examinations, one of two boards that sets the IGCSE, said that 100 schools offered at least one exam this year.
The Sunday Times, Aug. 27, 06

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