Published by SchoolAdvisor on Dec 29, 2016, 05:33 PM
With the new school term almost approaching, the one question many parents would have is, which curriculum would suit my child best? Let's take a look at the difference between these world-class curriculums.
Until 2013, the GCSE exam consisted of coursework - sometimes referred to as ‘controlled assessment’ - and exams. A review by Ofqual in 2013 concluded that the coursework element of GCSEs should be scrapped except, for example, in some subjects including science where experiments could demonstrate pupils’ knowledge. The emphasis now is for exams to be linear – that is with one final exam – rather than modular - the previous structure which allowed pupils to be assessed on smaller chunks of learning across two years.
GCSE exam grades are currently A*-G but these are due to change and are likely to be replaced with Grades 1-9.
At present, some exams are two-tier, so pupils can be entered for the higher or foundation tiers with their final grade being determined by the tier. For example, at foundation level a Grade C may be the maximum.
The GCSE course is usually two years but some schools will allow more able pupils to complete it in one year, or take the exams a year earlier. The majority of the exams are in June, with re-sits taken in November.
• Recent changes to the current GCSE exams mean that coursework is reduced to the absolute minimum.
• Grades will change from A*-G and be replaced with Grades 1-9.
The International GCSE was first introduced around 25 years ago so that pupils overseas, whose first language was not necessarily English, could take the exam. The syllabus includes many elements that are now not in the revised GCSE - mainly coursework.
Assessment takes place at the end of the course and includes written, oral, coursework and practical assessment. Grades are the same as for GCSEs A*-G.
The subjects which can be studied are the same as for GCSE but also include many foreign languages.
Many independent schools now enter pupils for this exam – possibly because they have many pupils from overseas whose first language is not English- and also because a large number of schools were disappointed at how the GCSE English exam was marked in recent years with controversy over grade boundaries.
The main difference is that the IGCSE still includes some elements of the old GCSE: coursework, oral and practical assessment as well as exams. The IGCSE is offered at different levels, and some teachers think that it has more scope for more able pupils at the higher level.
The IGCSE is graded from A* to G, with U stated as “Ungraded”. Students are required to obtain minimum grade C for the 5 core subjects in order to proceed to the next advanced level or further education. IGCSE grading overview is as below:
IGCSE offers more than 70 subjects. Students are required to take a minimum of 5 or maximum of 14 subjects. The core subjects are English, Mathematics and Sciences. Students can also choose other subjects ranging from Social Sciences (commonly Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Sociology) to Arts & Technology (commonly Computer Studies, Information & Communication Technology (ICT), Art & Design).
Student is awarded with one IGCSE certificate on each subject. If you take 5 subjects, you will be awarded 5 IGCSE certificates. The number of subjects need to be taken is varied from school to school, and also depends upon individual preference.
A-Level is a pre-university programme offered in Malaysia that’s based on the UK education system. Otherwise known as GCE Advanced Level, you can take this course after completing your SPM and before pursuing a degree at university.
A-Level in Malaysia is administered by two examination boards — Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and Edexcel. Most colleges in Malaysia offer the one from the Cambridge board as opposed to the one by Edexcel.
The programme is 15 to 24 months long, depending on when you start your studies.
It is 100% exam-based, so your child would pretty much be reliving your SPM days (national school assessment). But unlike SPM where students usually take 9 subjects, you only need to take a minimum of 3 subjects.
A-Level consists of two parts:
AS Level is the first half of the programme and forms the foundation of A-Level. A2 Level is the second part of the syllabus, covering more complex topics in the subjects that you have chosen.
You will typically take exams at the end of each level, with each level contributing 50% towards your final grade. That is to say, 50% from AS exams and 50% from A2 exams.
Your final results will be a grade of A* to E for each subject taken. The maximum score is A*A*A* for 3 subjects, and A*A*A*A* for 4 subjects.
If your child’s school offers an alternative to A-levels, it is likely to be the International Baccalaureate (IB or IBac). Developed in 1968 in Switzerland the IB has become very popular especially with independent schools. It is highly regarded by universities. International Baccalaureate is available at several levels but the one which applies to students age 16-19 is the IB Diploma.
The Diploma Programme prepares students for effective participation in a rapidly evolving and increasingly global society as they:
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