The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is one of the most popular certifications for Secondary school education offered by the Cambridge Assessment International Education (or simply Cambridge, formerly known as CIE -Cambridge International Examinations) which is a provider of international qualifications, offering examinations and qualifications to 10,000 schools in more than 160 countries.
The Cambridge International Examinations board of education is a division of Cambridge Assessment, the trading name of the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES), founded in 1858 as a not-for-profit non-teaching department of the University of Cambridge for conducting school leaving examinations. The University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate was set up to conduct local examinations for students who were not part of the University of Cambridge. This was done with the idea of improving the existing standards of education, and in concurrence, with this aim, the Syndicate was tasked with the periodic inspection of schools.
The UCLES introduced the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) in 1987 - an examination for school going students who were 16 years old, this was a followed by the introduction of IGCSE programme an international version of GCSE was launched in 1988. The Cambridge exams already had affiliated schools worldwide and with the introduction of IGCSE, the number of affiliate schools grew phenomenally.
Did you Know? The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) set up in the year 1958 in post-independence India in order to replace the existing Cambridge School Certificate Examination by an All India Examination. The board was set up to administer the examinations conducted by the University of Cambridge in India and to tailor make the curriculum according to the nation's need.
Cambridge board offers curriculum right from primary level up till 'A' level ( 13th and/or 12th grades as may be referred to in different countries) in which the IGCSE falls in the Upper Secondary Level. The following are the various courses offered at different levels, Cambridge Assessment offers what is known as the Cambridge Pathway. Cambridge Pathway gives students a clear path to educational success from age 5 to 19. Schools can shape the curriculum around how they want students to learn, International schools are allowed to develop a curriculum that is country specific – with a wide range of subjects and flexible ways to offer them. It helps students discover new abilities and a wider world, and gives them the skills they need for life. There are four sequential levels in the Cambridge Pathway:
- Cambridge Primary (5 to 11 years)
- Cambridge Lower Secondary (11 to 14 years)
- Cambridge Upper Secondary (14 to 16 years)
- Cambridge Advanced (16 to 19 years)
Cambridge Primary curriculum is meant for students belonging to the age group of 5 years to 11 years, The curriculum offers a world-class learning experience to students, with a play and learn mode of imparting education. The curriculum focuses primarily on helping students understand the basic concepts of important fields(subjects) of learning such as Mathematics, Science and English. In some cases English is also offered as a second language with another primary language).
Assessment - Teachers at the primary level assess children's learning as they progress with two optional assessments: Cambridge Primary Progression Tests and Cambridge Primary Checkpoint. The assessment procedure is designed in a way that is easy to carry out for the teachers and the parameters for assessment subscribe to international benchmarks.
Cambridge Primary helps identify a learner's strengths and weaknesses and can be used to support learning and development. It prepares learners for a smooth transition to Cambridge Lower Secondary and beyond.
Cambridge Lower Secondary:
Cambridge Lower Secondary curriculum is meant for the students between the ages of 11 and 14. Cambridge Lower Secondary curriculum develops skills and understanding in English, mathematics and science for the first three years of secondary education. It combines a world-class curriculum, high-quality support for teachers and integrated assessment. The curriculum also offers English as a second language with another primary language.
Students at this level are exposed to concepts at a much higher level when compared to the Primary level, the initiation into tough and logically complex concepts starts at this level thereby laying a foundation for the Upper Secondary level. Schools can use Cambridge Lower Secondary with any other curriculum, no part of the programme is compulsory, so teachers can use the materials to suit their own situation.
Major Subjects offered are -
- Science - Four content areas: scientific enquiry, biology, chemistry and physics.
- Cambridge Global Perspective Programme - It develops the skills of research, analysis, evaluation, reflection, collaboration and communication.
Cambridge Upper Secondary:
Cambridge Upper Secondary is typically for students between the ages 14and 16. Students can pursue this level either with the IGCSE or the Cambridge O level.
International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).
The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is one of the most popular certifications for Secondary school education offered by the Cambridge Assessment International Education, having been established almost 25 years ago the curriculum has been constantly evolving and is trusted by schools worldwide.
The IGCSE offers a very flexible curriculum and schools can build a curriculum around their specific needs. Under the IGCSE students get to choose from a broad pool of 70 subjects that are available to them, these 70 subjects also include 30 language papers.
The key areas of student development that IGCSE focuses on are:
- Subject content.
- Applying knowledge and understanding to new as well as unfamiliar situations.
- Intellectual enquiry.
- Flexibility and responsiveness to change.
- Working and communicating in English.
- Influencing outcomes.
- Cultural awareness.
Cambridge advanced is offered for students between the ages of 16 and 19 years who need an advanced study to prepare for university and higher education. The students are offered the Cambridge International AS & A Levels and the Cambridge Pre-University programmes.
Cambridge International AS & A Levels:
The Syllabus of the CI AS and A levels of Cambridge advanced is expansive and provides students with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the various subjects. Students from this curriculum gain a place at leading universities across the world every year.
To view the list of subjects offered under the As and A levels click here - www.cambridgeinternational.org - Subjects.
Cambridge International AS & A Level develops learners’ knowledge, understanding and skills in:
- In-depth subject content
- Independent thinking
- Applying knowledge and understanding to new as well as familiar situations
- Handling and evaluating different types of information source
- Thinking logically and presenting ordered and coherent arguments
- Making judgements, recommendations and decisions
- Presenting reasoned explanations, understanding implications and communicating them logically and clearly
- Working and communicating in English.
For more insights into IGCSE and Cambridge education, you could log on to www.cambridgeinternational.org.
Vidyalai offers online interactive one-to-one classes from subject experts for IGCSE (all) subjects, providing a personalized learning experience i.e. individually-paced and targeted learning.