Pride And Prejudice Gcse Coursework

GCSE Reforms – IGCSE Versus GCSE – Guess who Benefits?

Posted on Friday, December 16th, 2016

 

It is essential that everyone becomes aware of the differences in expectation of the new GCSE examinations for English state school students in comparison with the IGCSE sat by the independent sector. To highlight the differences, I have included the outlines of IGCSE English Literature first examined in 2018, and GCSE first examined in 2017. To put this process into a full context, you must read my previous blog, ‘100% Examinations in English? Only for those Educated within the English State System!’. Why are English state school students sitting 100% examination for GCSE English Literature and English Language, when independent schools and the rest of the UK have the option to submit coursework or controlled assessments? 

With reference to the course outlines, it can be evidenced that not are independent schools able sit coursework and be entered for exams in January and June, the examination they are sitting is actually easier too. There are numerous examples in the media where we are repeatedly told how much better private schools are in comparison to those in the state system. If this is truly the case shouldn’t this be the other way round? Surely we should make the state schools sit more straightforward examinations to allow for social deprivation, lack of facilities, larger class sizes, a teacher shortage and major cuts in funding in education? Or, in fairness, shouldn’t there be an UK system that examines all students equally?

The Main Issues:

  • IGCSE students and the rest of the UK can sit 40% coursework for English Literature and English Language, and it is only the English state schools that cannot;
  • IGCSE students can take advantage of staggered entry by sitting the examination in January or June;
  • IGCSE students can sit totally different examinations, and yet be allocated a Grade 9-1, making it look like they have sat the same kind of examination as the GCSE;
  • Ofqual have admitted that ‘50% of English Literature papers are marked incorrectly’ – making a mockery of 100% examinations.

IGCSE Versus GCSE English Literature

For the sake of a straightforward comparison I am using Pearson IGCSE first examined in 2018 and GCSE English Literature first examined in 2017. (Independent schools can still sit the old style IGCSE in 2017) In Appendix 1-4 I have recreated the IGCSE English Literature Pearson course outline. In Appendix 5 – 7 I have recreated the English Literature GCSE for English state schools – this is to show you an exact comparison of what the same examination board is expecting of their students depending on whether they are at an independent or a state school. Below, I have bullet pointed the main differences, which serve to highlight that it is not just the coursework that is a factor in making the IGCSE easier, it is also the content, the approach, the length of the examinations, and the academic rigour of the examinations. For the sake of comparison, the state qualification is GCSE and independent is IGCSE.

The Main differences:

  • IGCSE has a June or January entry whereas GCSE students must sit their examination in May/June;
  • If the Paper 2 option is selected it is 100% examination for IGCSE – BUT, it is open book;
  • For the Paper 2 examination option, for IGCSE you can select a Shakespeare OR a 19th Century text, and it is open book – GCSE have to do BOTH, and they are closed book;
  • For IGCSE the selection of texts is multicultural – including translations and American, the state curriculum is restricted to English texts (in my opinion, to its detriment) ;
  • The texts that IGCSE allow are (in my opinion) more accessible, and more straightforward to teach – plus most of the texts selected, many of us have taught for many years;
  • IGCSE – 2 hours of examination if coursework totalling 40% is submitted.  IGCSE – 3 hour 30 minutes in examination in total if they sit 100% examination. Whereas for GCSE it is 4 hours in total. (A major issue is the allocation of a 2 hour 15 minute examination for Component 2 – it is almost logistically impossible to allocate this length of examination for mock purposes, therefore the students do not get a chance to practice this examination in its entirety);
  • IGCSE Paper 1 (60% of IGCSE) they say it is ‘Closed book: texts are not allowed in the examination. However, students will be provided with the anthology poems in the examination.’ This means they will be provided with blank anthologies and therefore will not have to memorise texts. In comparison, for GCSE – BOTH examinations are CLOSED book – students have to memorise quotations from a 19th century text, Shakespeare, a modern text, an anthology of 15 poems – (They are given one poem, but must compare this with one poem from the anthology from memory). GCSE students must also have the skills to compare two unseen poems – all over 4 hours of examination. There is a distinct difference here: yet again IGCSE students can focus on style, not both memory and style like the GCSE students;
  • IGCSE – ‘Section A – Unseen Poetry: one 20-mark essay question exploring the meaning and effects created in an unseen poem. The poem will be reproduced in the question paper.’ Whereas for GCSE Part 2: ONE question comparing two unseen contemporary poems.  This is much more difficult, and requires a great deal more skill.

I could go on…

This is only an example of how ONE of the GCSEs is harder. This then has to be put into a context of the rest of the curriculum for these students:

  • The current Y11 have a combination of controlled assessments and coursework for some subjects, and relentless tests and mocks for Maths and English because they are 100% examinations. My eldest son is in a state school in England. Over one month in the summer he has 15 examinations – 7 of these are 100% examination.
  • A Y11 student targeted a Grade 9 in her English Literature received a Grade 1 in her mock examination – the teacher’s explanation to her parents was that she had ‘had a bad day’. When it is 100% examination, if this does happen, a whole of a student’s education is at risk of being wasted.
  • My middle child, who is currently in Year 9, is already working towards his GCSEs. He will have 22 examinations in Year 11 – (NO coursework), over 3/4 weeks – 100% examinations. This is an intolerable amount of pressure – and his targets are Grade 9 for all subjects. He feels like giving up now. He cannot see how he is ever going to achieve this – and he has informed and supportive parents. What happens to the students without parental support, or who get extreme pressure from home?

And we are actually wondering why there is an increase in mental health issues?

Questions that need to be answered:

  • Is this a test of academic ability or emotional endurance?
  • If the independent schools and the rest of the UK do not have to inflict this regime on their students, why are we putting the English state students through this?
  • What is going to happen to this generation of students, some of whom are going to leave school with NOTHING?
  • We used to motivate borderline students who were getting disaffected by saying they had done their coursework, and needed to complete the course. At Y9 many students are already feeling that they cannot possibly succeed in such a system. How are we going to prevent them from dropping out of the system altogether?
  • Coursework was a way of working with students with SEN and low ability to get them SOMETHING to show for their years in education – even if it was a Grade E or an F, it was an achievement – such students are going to leave school with NOTHING! Why are the weakest in society being penalised while the strongest students in independent schools are being championed and supported?

Why don’t state schools allow students to sit the new IGCSE?

This is a question that emerged from the Twitter feeds from the last blog – Cambridge explain this the best:

New syllabuses with 9-1 grading scale for first teaching from 2015 

In 2014, we developed new 9-1 graded syllabuses for Cambridge IGCSE in First Language English, English Literature and Mathematics as an option for schools in England comparable to the reformed domestic GCSEs. The content and assessment structure of these syllabuses is different to the A*-G graded syllabuses.

These syllabuses are regulated by Ofqual until November 2019. However, we were notified by the Department for Education in December 2015 that these three syllabuses will not be included in school performance tables.’

As IGCSE can no longer be included in performance tables, state schools cannot allow students to take these examinations. If state schools ignore the shadow of league tables they are at risk of:

  • Ofsted Inspection;
  • Not fulfilling Progress 8;
  • Special measures;
  • Academisation;
  • Head teachers losing their jobs;
  • Impact on performance related pay for teachers;
  • Teacher exodus;
  • Difficulty in appointing a Head

 The following link lists the significant number of independent schools that have opted out of the League Tables. Daily Telegraph: The private schools at the bottom of the GCSE league tables.

 Less Risk equals Less Pressure in the Independent Sector

Cambridge IGCSE outline how they have adapted the reforms to accommodate the Independent Sector

‘Existing syllabuses with 9-1 grading options  – We will support independent schools in the UK by offering 9-1 graded IGCSEs in our most popular subjects. We are making 9-1 versions of 13 existing syllabuses available over the next three years. … This means that schools will be able to retain A*-G or move to 9-1 grading. The syllabuses will be distinguished from each other by their syllabus codes. Although they are separate qualifications, the syllabus content and the method of assessment will be the same in each syllabus’.

How can this be comparable to what the state schools have to deliver, when all they are doing is changing the letters to numbers for grades? The use of numbers suggest that the students have sat the same examinations as the state students. They go on to say, ‘Cambridge IGCSEs will continue to have unique features that distinguish them from GCSEs. The 9-1 graded syllabuses will therefore not be regulated by UK regulators. Furthermore, A*-G graded Cambridge IGCSEs will no longer be regulated after the November 2019 exam series.’ 

How is this fair on state schools? Universities and employers will still be accepting what Cambridge admit are unregulated exams in the UK. This is unfair because to employers and universities it WILL LOOK LIKE students have all sat the same examinations. Why not just stay with the letter grades? It appears that it is their deliberate intention to make it look like the students in the independent sector are sitting equivalent examinations, and they are not!

Cambridge ask the question: How will we make sure the grading standards of IGCSEs are the same as those of reformed GCSEs?

‘Cambridge has always benchmarked its IGCSE to GCSE to ensure comparability of standards. This will continue to be the case. Cambridge IGCSEs have been benchmarked by UK NARIC, the national agency in the UK for the recognition and comparison of international qualifications. NARIC found IGCSE comparable to GCSE standard. 

They go on to say…

‘Whichever grading scale schools choose to offer, universities have informed us that they are committed to maintaining consistent entry requirements and that students with A*-G graded IGCSEs will not be disadvantaged.’

I appreciate that independent schools did not want to go ahead and deliver such a narrow curriculum, and they have clearly lobbied so they are not penalised for NOT following the UK  government curriculum guidelines. BUT, who is fighting for the state school students? Surely, they are significantly more disadvantaged than any child in an independent school? The height of irony is that the current government champion the independent schools, but it could be argued that the reason for their success is that they do not have to suffer from the interference of successive governments.

Suggested reforms the state system could implement immediately:

  1. Reinstate coursework as an option – one of the examinations in each subject can be converted to a coursework unit.
  2. Reinstate the option for staggered entries.
  3. Allow open book examinations.

 NO ONE has challenged the government strongly enough to stop these ridiculous sets of examinations, because if they had, they would not exist. If we are to define the systems as being winners and losers, I defy anyone to argue that the state educated students are most definitely the losers. They are suffering a narrow and dull curriculum, tested to near death and then suffer with multiple examinations over a short space of time that their whole futures are reliant on. Why has this been allowed to happen to our education system? Unless we do something VERY quickly, we will find ourselves with a LOST generation of children who RELY on the state to provide something that as a nation we have always been proud of, a FREE and ENGAGING education that is an ENTITLEMENT for ALL!

 

Appendix 1

PEARSON (EDEXCEL) IGCSE English Literature Specification

From the spec – ‘About this specification The Pearson Edexcel International GCSE in English Literature is part of a suite of International GCSE qualifications offered by Pearson.

This qualification is not accredited or regulated by any UK regulatory body. This specification includes the following key features:

Structure: the Pearson Edexcel International GCSE in English Literature is a linear qualification.

All papers must be taken at the end of the course of study.

Content: features a relevant, updated and engaging selection of texts ranging from British heritage to modern international. Assessment: choice of a 100% external assessment, or a 60% external examination and 40% internal coursework option.’

Paper overview Students must complete Paper 1, plus either Paper 2 or Paper 3

Paper 1: Poetry and Modern Prose*Paper code 4ET1/01
Externally assessed

• Availability: January and June

• First assessment: June 2018

60% of the total International GCSE
Content summary

• The poetry collection from Part 3 of the Pearson Edexcel International GCSE English Anthology. • One modern prose text from the list of set texts (page 9).

• Develop skills to analyse unseen poetry.

• Develop skills to analyse how language, form, structure and contextual factors can be used to create meanings and effects.

• Develop skills to maintain a critical style and informed personal response.

• Develop comparison skills

Assessment

• Section A – Unseen Poetry: one 20-mark essay question exploring the meaning and effects created in an unseen poem. The poem will be reproduced in the question paper.

• Section B – Anthology Poetry: one 30-mark essay question from a choice of two, comparing two poems from Part 3 of the Pearson Edexcel International GCSE English Anthology.

• Section C – Modern Prose: one 40-mark essay question from a choice of two on each of the set texts. • The total number of marks available is 90.

• The assessment duration is 2 hours.

• Closed book: texts are not allowed in the examination. However, students will be provided with the anthology poems in the examination.

Appendix 2

Students must complete either Paper 2 or Paper 3

 

Paper 2: Modern Drama and Literary Heritage Texts*Paper code 4ET1/02
• Externally assessed

• Availability: January and June

• First assessment: June 2018

40% of the total International GCSE
Content summary

• One modern drama text from the list of set texts (page 9).

• One literary heritage text from the list of set texts (page 9).**

• Develop skills to analyse how language, form, structure and contextual factors can be used to create meaning and effect.

• Develop skills to maintain a critical style and informed personal response.

Assessment

• Section A – Modern Drama: one 30-mark essay question from a choice of two on each of the set texts.

• Section B – Literary Heritage Texts: one 30-mark essay question from a choice of two on each of the set texts.

• The total number of marks available is 60.

• The assessment duration is 1 hour and 30 minutes.

• Open book: prescribed editions of set texts are allowed in the examination.

 

Appendix 3

Paper 3: Modern Drama and Literary Heritage Texts*Paper code 4ET1/03
• Internally assessed – (COURSEWORK)

Availability: January and June

• First assessment: June 2018

40% of the total International GCSE
Content summary

• One modern drama text from the list of set texts (page 9).

• One literary heritage text from the list of set texts (page 9).**

• Develop skills to analyse how language, form, structure and contextual factors are used to create meaning and effect.

• Develop skills to maintain a critical style and informed personal response

Assessment

• The assessment of this paper is through two coursework assignments, internally set and assessed, and externally moderated by Pearson.

• Assignment A – Modern Drama: one essay response to a teacher-devised assignment on the studied text.

• Assignment B – Literary Heritage Texts: one essay response to a teacher-devised assignment on the studied text.

• The total number of marks available is 60 (30 marks for each assignment).

Appendix 4

 IGCSE English Literature Set Texts at a Glance –Set texts at a glance, Paper 1 Part 3 of the Pearson Edexcel International GCSE English Anthology

If– Rudyard Kipling

Prayer Before Birth Louis MacNeice

Blessing Imtiaz Dharker

Search For My Tongue Sujata Bhatt

Half-past Two U A Fanthorpe

Piano D H Lawrence

Hide and Seek Vernon Scannell

Sonnet 116 William Shakespeare

La Belle Dame sans Merci John Keats

Poem at Thirty-Nine Alice Walker

War Photographer Carol Ann Duffy

The Tyger William Blake

My Last Duchess Robert Browning

Half-caste John Agard

Do not go gentle into that good night Dylan Thomas

Remember Christina Rossetti

Additionally, a selection of modern poetry should be studied in order to prepare for the unseen poetry assessment.

One modern prose text from the list below:

To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee

Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

The Whale Rider Witi Ihimaera

The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan

Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe

Paper 2 and Paper 3 One modern drama text from the list below:

A View from the Bridge Arthur Miller

An Inspector Calls J B Priestley

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime Mark Haddon (adapted by Simon Stephens)

Kindertransport Diane Samuels

Death and the King’s Horseman Wole Soyinka

One literary heritage text from the list below:

Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare

Macbeth William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare

Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen

Great Expectations Charles Dickens

The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

Paper 1 is closed book, therefore there are no prescribed editions of the set texts. Paper 2 is open book. Please find a list of prescribed editions in Appendix 4.

Appendix 5

English Literature GCSE PEARSONS (Edexcel) – Specification

‘From Pearson’s Expert Panel for World Class Qualifications The reform of the qualifications system in England is a profoundly important change to the education system. Teachers need to know that the new qualifications will assist them in helping their learners make progress in their lives. When these changes were first proposed we were approached by Pearson to join an ‘Expert Panel’ that would advise them on the development of the new qualifications.

As a result of our work as a panel we are confident that we have supported the development of qualifications that are outstanding for their coherence, thoroughness and attention to detail and can be regarded as representing world-class best practice. Sir Michael Barber (Chair) Chief Education Advisor, Pearson plc Professor Sing Kong Lee Director, National Institute of Education, Singapore Bahram Bekhradnia President, Higher Education Policy Institute Professor Jonathan Osborne Stanford University Dame Sally Coates Principal, Burlington Danes Academy Professor Dr Ursula Renold Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland Professor Robin Coningham Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Durham Professor Bob Schwartz Harvard Graduate School of Education Dr Peter Hill Former Chief Executive ACARA’

IF IT IS SO BRILLIANT WHY ARE ONLY THE ENGLISH STATE EDUCATED STUDENTS THE ONES HAVING TO SIT THIS EXAMINATION?

Qualification at a glance The Pearson Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9–1) in English Literature is a linear course. It consists of two externally examined components. Students must complete all assessment in May/June in any single year.

Component 1: Shakespeare and Post-1914 Literature *Paper code: 1ET0/01
● Externally assessed ● Availability: May/June ● First assessment: 201750% examination
Overview of content ● Study a Shakespeare play and a post-1914 British play or novel. ● Develop skills to analyse how the language, form, structure and context of texts can create meanings and effects. ● Develop skills to maintain a critical style and informed personal response.
Overview of assessment

● Section A – Shakespeare: a two-part question, with the first task focused on an extract of approximately 30 lines. The second task is focused on how a theme reflected in the extract is explored elsewhere in the play.

● Section B – Post-1914 British play or novel: ONE essay question.

● The total number of marks available is 80.

● Assessment duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes.

● Closed book (texts are not allowed in the examination)

 

Appendix 6

Component 2: 19th-century Novel and Poetry since 1789 * Paper code: 1ET0/02
● Externally assessed

● Availability: May/June

● First assessment: 2017

50% examination
Overview of content

● Study a 19th-century novel and a poetry collection from the Pearson Poetry Anthology.

● Develop skills to analyse how the language, form, structure and context of texts can create meanings and effects.

● Develop skills to maintain a critical style and informed personal response. ● Develop comparison skills.

Overview of assessment

● Section A – 19th-century novel: a two part question, with the first part focussed on an extract of approximately 400 words. The second part is an essay question exploring the whole text.

● Section B – Part 1: ONE question comparing a named poem from the Pearson Poetry Anthology collection to another poem from that collection. The named poem will be shown in the question paper.  (14 poems are to be memorised  – 1 to be chosen to compare with the named poem from memory.)

Part 2: ONE question comparing two unseen contemporary poems.

● The total number of marks available is 80.

● Assessment duration: 2 hours and 15 minutes.

● Closed book (texts are not allowed in the examination).

Appendix 7

GCSE English Literature Set Texts at a Glance

Component 1

One text from: Shakespeare:

Macbeth

The Tempest

Romeo and Juliet

Much Ado About Nothing

Twelfth Night

The Merchant of Venice

One text from: Post-1914 British play or novel

An Inspector Calls – J B Priestley

Hobson’s Choice – Harold Brighouse

Blood Brothers – Willy Russell

Journey’s End – R C Sherriff

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Anita and Me – Meera Syal

The Woman in Black – Susan Hill

Component 2 One text from: 19th-century novel

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë

Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – R L Stevenson

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Silas Marner – George Eliot

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

One collection from: Pearson Poetry Anthology Collections (15 poems in each collection)

Relationships

Conflict

Time and Place

 

There are many different ways of interpreting Pride and Prejudice. For instance, when it was first published, the work was a very early example of a romance novel [romance novel: A literary genre within which the main plot is focused upon the development of a romantic relationship between two people. Traditionally the story will have an optimistic ending. ].

Pride and Prejudice

Mr Darcy

There are many characters in the novel who display one or both of these - pride and prejudice. As you'll see, the two often go together.

It's helpful to define these words in their context. In this book, they mean:

Pride - having too high an opinion of one's own worth or importance.

Prejudice - making judgements about others which aren't based on fact or experience.

Examples of pride

CharacterExample of pride
DarcyFrom the beginning, Darcy is shown to be too proud of his own social standing. He looks down on people, especially the Bennets. This is made worse by his natural quietness, which makes him seem even more aloof [aloof: Distant and cold in manner, and lacking in interest or concern. ].
ElizabethElizabeth isn't naturally proud in the same sense as Darcy. But when she's slighted by him at the first ball, her pride is hurt. As a result, she compensates by becoming more proud of herself and defensive about her family.
Lady CatherineLady Catherine is incredibly proud, believing it to be the natural order of things that she be praised and obeyed.
Mr CollinsCollins' pride changes according to whom he's speaking. In the company of people he believes to be below him socially, he revels in taking the moral high ground and bragging about his standing. With those above him, his pride vanishes and he often humiliates himself.

Examples of prejudice

CharacterExample of prejudice
DarcyWithout knowing the Bennets - or almost anyone else, for that matter - Darcy seems to form opinions without taking the trouble to get to know them.
ElizabethAgain, prejudice isn't Elizabeth's natural outlook. However, when Darcy offends her, she allows everything to feed the prejudice she develops against him. She's prepared to believe anything bad about him to fuel the impression she wants to create (for instance, Wickham's story).
Mrs BennetMrs Bennet develops a more blatant prejudice against Darcy after his actions at the ball. She acts on this, insulting him within earshot. Her character's lack of depth is shown by her prejudice disappearing when Darcy proposes to Elizabeth.
Lady CatherineShe's prejudiced against anyone below her in social standing, unless they're prepared to play by her rules (that is, what she says goes). So she's prepared to tolerate Collins, but despises Elizabeth.
The Bingley sistersMrs Hurst and Miss Bingley are prejudiced against Jane and Elizabeth. This is mainly out of self-interest. They dislike Jane because they feel she isn't good enough for their brother; they dislike Elizabeth because Darcy likes her and Miss Bingley wants to marry him.

Austen offers a balance to all this pride and prejudice in two ways. Firstly, she creates characters who don't really show either characteristic (for example, Jane, Bingley and Mr Bennet). Secondly, she shows that pride and prejudice can be overcome (Darcy and Elizabeth).

Back to Pride and Prejudice index

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