Breaking news reported in the TES announced the virtual end of the IGCSE with its removal from England's performance measures from 2017. This means that the new GCSEs, described by ministers as much tougher, will be the sole choice for most schools and colleges. Nick Gibb, school reform minister, assessed the IGCSEs as having encouraged a 'race to the bottom'. Unless the forthcoming general election prompts a significant shift in direction, it seems clear that end of course assessment, largely exam-based, will become the norm.
The trend to end of course examinations at GCSE and A-level will further promote the importance of study and examination skills being an integral part of learning throughout a child's secondary school career. Whereas module examinations allowed the development of those skills to be lower risk and acquired over the duration of the course, end of course examinations mean that it has to be right first time. Intervention groups, the careful tracking of data and regular assessments will be more important than ever, as will the role of parents as effective partners in their child's education.