Going back to the 1970s when I attended Heath Town Primary School and St Peter’s Collegiate School, pupils were taking their General Certificate of Education (GCE) and Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) exams at the age of 15-16. I, for one, took the Alternative Ordinary (AO) Level Exams in the year 1977-78 which not many people seem to have heard about. At the time, I was informed that it was an examination between Ordinary and Advanced level – should I be worried? Not at all, at least, I have the certificates to prove it.
It was not until I moved to Tenerife with my kids in December 2011, that we were introduced to IGCSEs which is apparently the world’s most popular international qualification for 14-16 years olds.
“The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (abbreviated IGCSE) is an internationally recognised qualification for school students, typically in the 14–16 age group. It is similar to the GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Standard Grade in Scotland or Junior Certificate in the Republic of Ireland. The IGCSE was developed by University of Cambridge International Examinations in 1988. The examination board Edexcel offers its own version, the Edexcel IGCSE. The term “IGCSE” is the registered trade mark of the University of Cambridge and is used under licence.”