Flexibility and depth of Cambridge IGCSE provides firm foundation for student success

Cambridge International recently had the following article published in New Zealand Principal.

It is now more than 30 years since students started studying Cambridge IGCSE and today it remains the most popular international qualification for 14 to 16 year olds.

Cambridge International, the only international exam board wholly owned by a world-leading university, the University of Cambridge, has more than 160 years’ experience in international education. It prepares school students for life, helping them develop an informed curiosity and a passion for learning. The Cambridge IGCSE is a key component of the Cambridge Pathway, offering students a broad curriculum and flexibility to enhance their educational journey.

Cambridge IGCSE is taught by more than 4800 schools. It is designed to suit all contexts and cultures and is a truly international qualification. In New Zealand, schools made more than 11 000 exam entries in 2018/19.

Flexible curriculum

Cambridge International offers 70 subjects in any combination at Cambridge IGCSE – more than any other international qualification – and works with schools to offer a balanced curriculum, helping students to develop skills such as creative thinking, enquiry and problem solving.

The flexibility of the curriculum and the range of subjects offered means private schools can build a Cambridge IGCSE programme to suit the needs of their students.

The Cambridge IGCSE also has a great deal to offer state schools as they can enrich the national curriculum by adding one of the many subjects on offer, including more specialised syllabuses such as Cambridge Global Perspectives which develop skills and understanding across traditional subject boundaries.

Schools offering dual qualification pathways – Cambridge International and the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) – benefit from the flexibility and depth of the Cambridge IGCSE qualification to give every student the best possible experience in education.

The structured syllabuses help students discover new abilities and develop understanding and skills that serve them well for the future. Cambridge schools tell us that Cambridge IGCSE provides students with a strong foundation for the next stage of their educational journey, such as Cambridge International AS & A Levels, or employment.

Cambridge IGCSE gives students a respected qualification that is accepted by leading universities and employers at home and around the world as evidence of academic ability, allowing students to progress and succeed internationally.

Assessment supports learning

Cambridge International recognises that assessment needs to support student learning, providing focus and challenge to learners. The linear structure and rigorous assessment at the end of each Cambridge IGCSE course maximises the amount of time given to teaching and learning, helping to ensure students develop a strong grasp of each subject.

In the early 2000s the UK government introduced a modular approach to UK GCSEs but returned to linear assessment in 2013. Research from the UK’s Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) in 2019 found that modular assessment did not lead to improved results. The report said the return to linear assessment was ‘a response to concerns that modular examinations led to constant testing and were partly responsible for a perception that examination standards had declined in England’.

There is a range of assessment at Cambridge IGCSE, including written, oral, and practical assessment, and some syllabuses such as Art & Design and Physical Education include coursework.

The inclusion of practical assessment in Cambridge IGCSE sciences, which are available as individual subjects or a coordinated syllabus, is valued highly by universities. They want to see evidence that a student has undertaken practical work during their science studies at school. And a 2017 research report from the Gatsby Foundation, ‘Good Practical Science’, suggested that success in future scientific study or career requires good practical skills.

A good example of the strength of academic achievement at Cambridge IGCSE level in New Zealand is the success that students here enjoy in the Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards. In the 2019 November exam series, New Zealand had 33 winners of the Top in the World award – a prestigious award that recognises exceptional performance in Cambridge exams.

Learn more!

Wherever in the world your students want to go, help them get there with Cambridge IGCSE. To find out more visit www.cambridgeinternational.org/igcse