The International Baccalaureate Program

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AuthorTopic: The International Baccalaureate Program
Warrior
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Has anyone heard of or participated in this horribly flawed system of "world" education? Based on the comments and topics I've seen in these boards, Spidwebbers seem to be perfect prey for it... Intellectual (or semi-intellectual, or just eccentric) individuals who are psychologically masochistic to some degree.

[ Sunday, June 26, 2005 21:54: Message edited by: Slp006 ]

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Posts: 154 | Registered: Monday, June 20 2005 07:00
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What problem do you have with the IBs? As I understand it, they're much the same as APs.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

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Warrior
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That's just it. IB isn't supposed be be about the tests or difficulty level. The tests are just something you do at the end. The IB Organization promises that the education will be more liberal and interactive, with less rote learning and busy work. Unfortunately, my experience in the program was essentially "AP with more work." It was the same typical crud learning system as usual, so I burn with hatred for being tricked.

[ Sunday, June 26, 2005 22:20: Message edited by: Slp006 ]

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If you have a standardized test at the end that is supposed to measure how much you learned, your teachers are going to be teaching for the test. That's just how it is.

That's like believing the ACT people when they tell you that the ACT is more comprehensive than the SAT. It's just a different test.

EDIT: This kind of makes me want to go into my standardized testing rant, but I'll hold off unless the conversation actually steers that way.

[ Sunday, June 26, 2005 22:31: Message edited by: Manhood Typing Kelandon ]

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

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E Equals MC What!!!!
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This kinda makes me want to go into my standard anti-education rant, but I think everyone's had too much of that already. :P

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Law Bringer
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Hm... I just went through this kind of argument for at least a year, being an AP student regularly stuck in the same room with IBers.

AP works just as well if you want a good education, as does IB. You just have to actually want it. I saw a lot of normally pleasant people become whining neurotics or fantastically annoying overachievers due to the IB program and its strange workload. Fortunately, some of the IB people in our school were still pleasantly human at the end of the year, but it looked like the whole thing took a heavy toll on their sanity.

Funny little story... I actually beat out one of our school's IB diploma candidates in applying to Wash. U (the one in StL). I got accepted, she got waitlisted.

So really, IB doesn't always give you an edge, it's just another approach to the same problem: finding an honors education system that works for the individual. Sure, some people find out too late that IB doesn't work for them, but that happens everywhere.

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Agent
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I know some people in the IB program, and from what they tell me, it seems to be a highly touted advanced program that imposes much work and homework. The material taught is similar to AP courses, but I think that their instructors leaned toward having them read dry information in the books.

My suburban school system does not offer the IB curriculum, but quite honestly, I would rather not have it. Being a 4.0 student with IB would probably flush any relaxation on the weekdays completely down the drain.

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...I'm tempted to listen to the petite bourgeoisie glorify their standardized examinations, but...

I did a moderate amount of AP classes. They're normal classes for me, but that's probably because I didn't do the work.

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Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by Marx' Martyr:

I'm tempted to listen to the petite bourgeoisie glorify their standardized examinations, but...
Now you know I hate to argue with TM, but has anyone in this thread actually written anything to suggest an opinion supporting standardized tests? Usually when one trolls, one trolls at someone, but this seems to be poorly thought out.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

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quote:
Originally written by Manhood Typing Kelandon:

has anyone in this thread actually written anything to suggest an opinion supporting standardized tests?
Oh, please. "That's just how it is." leaves little to the imagination- and if that's not what you meant, then your snide remarks about my diction leave you with a log in your retina.

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Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
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You might want to check the antecedent to that pronoun: "that" refers to the if-then in the previous sentence, which was a statement about the nature of the position of a teacher, not about the quality or necessity of standardized tests.

Your poor reading comprehension is not equal to a problem with my diction.

[ Monday, June 27, 2005 11:28: Message edited by: Manhood Typing Kelandon ]

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

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Triad Mage
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Especially since the end of Kelandon's post mentions a "standardized testing rant" ...

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Posts: 9436 | Registered: Wednesday, September 19 2001 07:00
Apprentice
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Well, my IB program went a great deal beyond AP, including a good bit of not-your-standard-classroom-stuff. That was, however, almost 10 years ago. Things may have changed since then, I suppose.

It certainly wasn't "teaching to the test" in any significant way. Nor was it simply learning rote facts... it was primarily about learning to analyze and think. Very little memorization going on.

[ Monday, June 27, 2005 12:17: Message edited by: Beamup ]
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Law Bringer
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I think the quality of education varies more by teacher than by subject or by label attached to the class. A non-honors class by a superior teacher can easily leave you knowing more about the material in question than an AP class taught by a mediocre teacher, even if the latter allows you to earn a pretty AP score.

I don't think anyone tries to defend standardized testing with anyting but the rhetorical query, "What else do we have?" anymore. Sooner or later, someone will come up with an answer and the tests of this year will go the way of the tests of yesteryear. I hope.

—Alorael, who will qualify that with two additions. Smaller classes tend to be better than larger classes, so if the honors, IB, or AP classes are smaller, they have a higher chance of being better. Secondly, a class with more motivated students will tend to be better, and while not all honors/AP/IB classes have motivated students (see: TM), many will. The teaching quality, unfortunately, seems to be a mixed bag.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Law Bringer
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quote:
Originally written by Slp006:

Has anyone heard of or participated in this horribly flawed system of "world" education? Based on the comments and topics I've seen in these boards, Spidwebbers seem to be perfect prey for it... Intellectual (or semi-intellectual, or just eccentric) individuals who are psychologically masochistic to some degree.
I have heard of, participated in, and completed that system. In my more egomanic phases, I like to call myself intellectual, though psychologically masochistic sounds off.

Yes, it was gruelling, and yes, there were points that seemed outright ridiculous, but less so than in the previous education systems I've been in. Contrary to what previous seniors told me, I had no uncommonly extreme lack of free time except for the examination week, and I did well (38/45) in spite of being rather in the average range of the class and lacking organization skill.

I liked it. So?

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Good lord- you're packing down the same nonsensical "life sucks, get a helmet" ideology that even JV can go through the motions of, and somehow expect me to read it as your not following your oft-repeated trend of homogenization?

WELCOME TO FAGOTVILLE

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EDIT: Admittedly, it was an error of judgment on my part- you're not a Bible-thumping stereophile, but that doesn't mean that you limo-libs have since forgotten that the 60s are well and over.

[ Monday, June 27, 2005 15:34: Message edited by: Marx' Martyr ]

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Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
By Committee
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I didn't attend the high school that had the IB program in my city, but I have a lot of friends that did participate in that program. From what I understand, it was certainly more rigorous than AP offerings at other schools, and several people I know did get burned out on it. Nevertheless, most of them thrived during it, and went on to some of the more prestigious unis afterward. Would they have attended these schools anyway? Perhaps. But I think most of them in the end were grateful for the experience and genuinely enjoyed getting to test their limits.

I say be grateful that you have the opportunity, buckle down, and take advantage of it. I sure wish I had had the same chance.
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Warrior
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Well, I just finished going through the, as TM might put it, the IB homogenization process. I'm waiting for my scores and the diploma. I thankfully didn't burn out, and the tests didn't seem bad, but I expected something more enriching.

Oh, and all the stories about not having free time is bunk. My grades were very high, and I still had Saturdays free every week. The work only becomes a problem if you procrastinate.

At any rate, I'm glad that IB isn't a horrible experience everywhere. The program can be implemented properly, apparently, based on Beamup's post. I honestly wasn't sure if that was possible.

[ Monday, June 27, 2005 16:04: Message edited by: Slp006 ]

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Posts: 154 | Registered: Monday, June 20 2005 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by A punchline in the gut:

I don't think anyone tries to defend standardized testing with anyting but the rhetorical query, "What else do we have?" anymore. Sooner or later, someone will come up with an answer and the tests of this year will go the way of the tests of yesteryear. I hope.
While we can't do much better than standardised testing as a general marker of ability, it is possible to make a standardised test where teaching to the test isn't possible. In Victoria, the General Achievement Test is given to all students in the final year of secondary school. Only the people compiling the test know what's going to be on it before the day of the test, and questions aren't reused from year to year.

(Of course, even if it were possible to teach for the test, there wouldn't be much point, since GAT results are given only minor consideration as regards university admission; individual subject results are much more important.)

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quote:
Originally written by Slp006:

Well, I just finished going through the, as TM might put it, the IB homogenization process.
It's less of a direct thing, though. More of a "celebration of one's caucasian-ness". (Which is, admittedly, why I expected Kel to glorify it.)

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More a "celebration of western civ-ness," perhaps, but what's wrong with that?
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Law Bringer
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quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

quote:
Originally written by A punchline in the gut:

I don't think anyone tries to defend standardized testing with anyting but the rhetorical query, "What else do we have?" anymore. Sooner or later, someone will come up with an answer and the tests of this year will go the way of the tests of yesteryear. I hope.
While we can't do much better than standardised testing as a general marker of ability, it is possible to make a standardised test where teaching to the test isn't possible. In Victoria, the General Achievement Test is given to all students in the final year of secondary school. Only the people compiling the test know what's going to be on it before the day of the test, and questions aren't reused from year to year.

(Of course, even if it were possible to teach for the test, there wouldn't be much point, since GAT results are given only minor consideration as regards university admission; individual subject results are much more important.)

There is a test that is a general achievement/aptitude test on which the tests from consecutive years have no resemblance? I find that hard to believe. How many ways can you keep reinventing the test? SATs in the USA don't reuse questions and nobody knows exactly what will be on them, but the same types of "aptitude" are tested every time.

Standardized subject tests are part of the problem. They ensure that each subject is taught according to what will appear on the test. Nothing less, but often nothing more.

—Alorael, who edited his signature in before anyone caught his mistake. Ha!

[ Monday, June 27, 2005 17:39: Message edited by: A punchline in the gut ]
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quote:
There is a test that is a general achievement/aptitude test on which the tests from consecutive years have no resemblance? I find that hard to believe. How many ways can you keep reinventing the test? SATs in the USA don't reuse questions and nobody knows exactly what will be on them, but the same types of "aptitude" are tested every time.
It has a standard form, but it's not the kind of form that lends itself to being taught to answer it.

One third of the marks come from two essay questions. In the first, the student has to summarise the content of an article which consists of a mixture of graphical and textual content (the article itself can be just about anything; recent examples have included a page from a first aid manual and a poster on environmental awareness). In the second, about half a dozen related sentences are selected randomly from different newspaper editorials and students are asked to write an essay based on one or more of them.

The next two-thirds of the test is a multiple-choice test divided equally into mathematical and verbal sections. The questions from the mathematical section range from estimation to the "how many triangles are in this figure" kind of deal. The verbal section generally consists mostly of a number of short articles along with multiple-choice comprehension questions pertaining to specific passages from them. If someone hasn't learned reading comprehension and basic mathematics by year 12, it's a bit late to teach it -- although really, the questions are the sort of thing I was doing in primary school, so I'd be a bit worried if anyone taking the test didn't do fantastically well anyway.

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Thuryl, that test doesn't sound too different in format from the current SAT, and the current SAT is very coachable. I teach test prep, and one can boost scores with prep for any test with consistent standards or a consistent format. Teach process of elmination, make sure the students know how and when to guess, teach an order of approach to the reading passages and practice which kinds of answers the test-makers usually go for, practice basing your answer in the passage rather than interpreting the passage, practice plugging in numbers — all of these things can be taught.

TM, all you're doing is showing how little you actually know about me.

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So if you're guessing, you don't guess answers that are obviously incorrect. Since no marks are deducted for incorrect answers, it's better to guess than not answer at all. The idea that any of that would need to be actively taught to anyone is baffling to me.

(Mind you, maybe this is because the test is just stupidly easy; a typical question would be to present an opinion article on some social change, and then ask whether the writer of the article supported or opposed the change. Anyone who can't work that out needs euthanasia, not coaching.)

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