Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

U-Va. cheats IB students

Some days when Alexis Robertson was in the heavy-duty International Baccalaureate program at South Lakes High School in Fairfax County, she arrived at 7 a.m. and didn’t leave until 8 p.m. The 4,000-word IB paper she wrote was longer and more detailed than anything she has had so far as freshman at the University of Virginia. She passed six college-level IB exams, did 150 hours of community service and received the IB Diploma, one of the highest honors bestowed by American high schools.

Yet U-Va. gave her only nine college credits. She said a friend who had a similar load of Advanced Placement courses (a similar but older college-level program for high schoolers) received 39 credits, and already started taking classes in her major.

That means AP is a better than IB, right? No.

I have written books about both programs. Although IB and AP both add electrifying challenges to our usually limp high school course catalogues, IB is somewhat better because of its writing requirement and deeper exams, with no multiple choice questions. Yet students at U-Va. and elsewhere are finding that our finest colleges are dumb and deceptive about IB. They openly discriminate against students like Robertson, with no data supporting their rules and no interest in changing them.

This is my fifth year investigating IB credit policies in more than a dozen universities and colleges in this region, and several others elsewhere. When I ask their spokespersons why they give more credit for good scores on AP tests than good scores on similar IB tests, they say they don’t know. The few times I have been able to reach the professors who make these rules, the usual answer is: “Well, some committee made those decisions many years ago. I don’t know when we will have a chance to review them.”

The IB credit rules at U-Va. are among the worst in the country. As a result, it is one of the first universities to have IB students organizing to overturn the old system. U-Va. has many former IB students because Northern Virginia has one of the highest concentration of IB high schools, including a third of the schools in Fairfax County.

Lauren Carman, a third year student who graduated from Edison High School in Fairfax County, said the IB protesters “are rather outraged.” Matthew Allen, a second year student, recalled spending more than $80 to take an AP calculus test his senior year at Robert E. Lee High School, also in Fairfax County, because his high grade on a similar IB test earned no credit. Julia Hardcastle, a second year student who earned an IB diploma at George Marshall High School in Fairfax County, said “I was horrified at my U-Va. orientation to find that I would be receiving ZERO credit for all my hard work.”

Most colleges give some credit for good scores on IB Higher Level exams given after two-year courses. But they rarely give credit for good scores on IB Standard Level (SL) exams, given after one-year courses, unless the student has earned the IB diploma. (The IB diploma, which requires at least six IB courses and tests, is awarded in addition to the usual high school diploma.) U-Va. gives credit for good scores on exams after one-year AP courses, but none for good scores on exams after IB SL courses, even though a 2007 Thomas B. Fordham Institute study found AP and IB-SL nearly identical in rigor and content.

U-Va. spokeswoman Carol Wood said “college faculty make informed decisions about the credit to be awarded, regularly verifying their judgments by feedback provided from student performance.” That is a standard college line. I have heard it many times, but I do not think it is true. Like other schools that discriminate against IB, U-Va.'s spokeswoman was unable to provide any data to verify what she said.

Now that the College Board is deepening its AP courses and tests to look more like IB, it might be a good time for U-Va. and schools like it to put their credit rules in touch with reality, and for U-Va. to confess its IB student rebellion is its fault.

Read Jay's blog every day at

Follow all the Post's Education coverage on Twitter, Facebook and our Education web page,

By Jay Mathews  | February 7, 2010; 6:00 PM ET
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags:  Advanced Placement, IB students protest, International Baccalaureate, University of Virginia, colleges discriminate against IB, deceptive college rules, dumb  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Readers question Challenge Index
Next: Students should read non-fiction


I've been having this exact discussion with my college professor husband for years now. It seems quite clear to me that colleges have yet to recognize the value in IB. Do you know the history of AP? How long did it take for colleges to begin accepting AP credits? Was it immediate or did it take some time? I feel as though academia is slow to change and this is one more example.

Posted by: Jenny04 | February 7, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree in general that many universities have unjustifiable policies towards IB credit, but I would like to note that, in my experience, the IB mathematics curriculum is not nearly as good as the AP calculus program (at least the BC exam). This is not to say that either is perfect, but a student planning to continue in mathematics past calculus, either in high school or in college, is better served by taking the AP BC exam.

Posted by: ewarner2 | February 7, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I have little doubt the IB program is every bit as good as AP BUT...
1. AP is a series of college-level courses. Each course is vetted by college profs and students and grades on the AP exam are validated based upon how those college students taking an equivalent course do on the test. In other words, there is quality control.
2. IB has no such quality control. It is billed by the organization as college prep, not college equivalency. The onus should be on the IB organization, not colleges, to establish equivalencies, just as the College Board has done with AP (if in fact that is something IB wishes to have happen).

Posted by: patrickmattimore1 | February 8, 2010 5:47 AM | Report abuse

When does high school equal college? If that was the case, our 9th grade students who take AP Human Geography, AP Psychology, and other freshmen AP courses should receive their college degrees when they graduate high school.

Posted by: ericpollock | February 8, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Patrick Mattimore - It is clear you know nothing about the quality control in place for IB exam scoring. IB takes very seriously that exams are scored to its standards. Rather than cattle-call readings on the AP side where essays get a speed reading at best, IB exams are sent in smaller batches to examiners all over the world. Moderators ensure performance criteria is maintained. And - there is practically no multiple choice anywhere in the process.

AP is not a college course. It is an exam. IB is a rigorous, comprehensive curriculum with multiple and varied assessments.

Mr. Pollock's comments about freshmen in AP classes highlights the issue. Do you really think a three on an AP exam in 9th grade deserves credit? Yet a senior writing multiple, sophisticated essays on an IB SL exam gets nothing.

UVA loves to admit IB students. Now it needs to give it proper credit to end this senseless debate about which program is better.

IB students return to my school and talk about how well prepared they are compared to their AP roommates. Isn't that what students and parents should be looking for in a program?

Posted by: jwpetey | February 8, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

One question I had when reading this, is how do the high schools in question portray the program and credits that might be received? The VA IB High Schools should certainly forwarn students applying to state schools, particularly UVA apparently, that they won't get the credit they might expect. The schools also should ensure that the students know how to take the related AP exams, at neighboring high schools, if credit is the reason the students are participating.

If they are participating in IB because it is the only advanced option in their school, and therefore assists with admission, than they don't need to worry about the AP exams (if they don't worry about getting credit).

So, I lay more blame on the high schools setting up expectations, than UVA. (and patrick is correct, IBO should be providing needed information to the colleges)

Posted by: researcher2 | February 8, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, but this is a contrived, elitist non-issue. As you yourself wrote two years ago: "College admissions officers say they love seeing IB courses on transcripts. Students say the IB writing instruction and five-hour, end-of-course exams prepare them well for higher education."

Could it just possibly be that had these students taken the more common AP classes they might not have gotten into U-Va.? Were these students not prepared for the academic rigor by taking the IB curricula?
Where is the REAL injustice here?

Posted by: Wooden_U_Lykteneau | February 8, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

As a smart student you would think they would research which AP/IB would transfer to their school or choice and backup school of choice. Then take that route. And I will say that they shouldn't complain about getting a top notch education that prepares them for the next level and the future. Sometimes kids and their parents can't see the forest due to the trees.

Posted by: tims_junk_account | February 8, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

For Wooden_U_Lykteneu, it is hard to make the necessary distinction. Even the college spokespersons don't get it at first when I ask them about the issue. They refer me to the admissions office. I explain that the problem has nothing to do with admissions. The admissions people love IB as much as they love AP and will tell you that they rate the programs equally, so being an IB kid is no handicap in being admitted to UVA. This is a CREDIT issue, not an admissions issue. The Admissions office doesn't determine credit for AP and IB courses. The faculty departments do, and they, sadly, rarely bother to even educate themselves on the issue, but rely on rules made on the fly with very little information two or three decades ago. All the data we do have, at a few colleges like U of FLa, show that the IB prepares kids for the rigors of college wonderfully, and the students themselves will tell you that. There are a lot of them now. Go ask them.

Posted by: Jay Mathews | February 8, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Patrick Mattimore - It is clear you know nothing about the quality control in place for IB exam scoring. IB takes very seriously that exams are scored to its standards

That's fine. IB has a set of standards and as I wrote I have no doubt that those standards are every bit as high as the standards on AP (which BTW is both a course and an exam). The difference is that the College Board has an independent check on its standards- colleges and universities, professors and their students. That is what I meant by quality control.
You can disparage AP. I am certainly not going to disparage IB. From what I know of reading about IB and speaking with teachers who taught IB it is a terrific in-depth program.
I taught AP psychology and it was the equivalent of a college-level intro psych class.

Posted by: patrickmattimore1 | February 8, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Then perhaps the way to solve this issue is to stop giving credit to AP students. Why should anybody get college credit for work done in high school? And for the record, I took IB classes and never had the impudence to expect anything more than the academic challenge.

Posted by: Wooden_U_Lykteneau | February 8, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

@ patrickmattimore1
I'm currently an senior going for the full IB diploma, but your comment seems to go off with what my teachers have said. If AP is Course + Test, then why is it possible for any students to take the test and still get AP credit? The course does not appear necessary, however the test will cost money(this was from my history teacher)

from what I've observed, AP appears to go through a lot of topics not very in depth, while IB goes through less topics in much more depth. However, I don't remember much after more than a few months. How does Ap help students in college, where there should be less focus on memorization and more on analysis?

Posted by: 1337chopsticks | February 8, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

The decision to award college credit for high school courses (both AP and IB) needs to be reconsidered. My daughters both took 6 IB classes in high school and received far fewer credits from their respective colleges (VT and UMW)than their friends with AP classes. Then they listened as those same friends struggled with sophomore level college courses they were allowed to take as freshmen thanks to their AP credits. The only complaint I have heard from one daughter about the lack of credit for IB courses is that her AP friends with more credits get a better lottery number when choosing on-campus housing.

Posted by: djmeinholdt | February 8, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Oh please, I'm about sick of hearing Jay praise the UN affiliated Leftist IB program. Come on Jay, the UN agenda is interwoven into the curriculum and it's a way of politically indoctrinating students into the leftist ideology.
Look at the IB web site at the Geography Syllabus for 2011. They want to address global warming as one of the biggest threats. I suppose they drafted this before all of their PAID UN scientists got caught lying!! Climategate ring a bell.

Kids will be indoctrinated into the new religion of Environmentalism at the expense of quality academics.

Just because our public schools offer little to challenge students doesn't mean we have to settle for a UN affiliated program.

The UN? Let's see, they incorporate peace education and yet their peacekeepers were raping and molesting children in the Congo a few years ago.

They turn a blind eye to forced abortions and sterilizations of women in China. That JAY, is violence against women.

Their idea of peace is wealth redistribution which is socialism. Do your homework on the UN. Look at the IBO web site where they now announced MOTHER EARTH day where you can get a plate full of UN propaganda for your children courtesy IBO.

Jay, when are you going to realize supporting this program was a mistake?

Posted by: MOMwithAbrain | February 8, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

People are starting to realise that IB is a bunch of non academic politically correct anti-American pro-UN world-government nonsense.

Who cares about 'community service'??? Doesn't amount to good old fashioned KNOWLEDGE.

This program is a scam, and not what it is cracked up to be by its creators.

Posted by: username | February 8, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

The last few comments kind of make me wish I had taken IB classes instead of AP ones.

Anyway, what I have gathered about the differences between the two programs is fairly simple: the IB program has a greater emphasis on writing and depth, while the AP program has a greater emphasis on science and breadth. Perhaps this should lead to different standards of credit in different courses, perhaps not. In terms of actual learning, neither program (or the lack of an advanced program) matters nearly as much as the person teaching the course.

Posted by: ewarner2 | February 8, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

It's not like the UN agenda is hidden. Go to the IB web site ,they happily post it.

IF you want an indoctrination, so be it. I still prefer educating students.

Look, how they want to change the values of the IB students:

You can deny it all you want, but normally one offers facts to dispute someone's post. YOu offered nothing.

Check out the IB Syllabus....
Note that they want to indoctrinate you with the UN agenda on population. hmmm, now where do you think the UN stands on population? OH that's right..CONTROLLING IT. No political agenda there.
Boy people....are you this easily swayed by political operatives?
Where's the critical thinking??

Posted by: MOMwithAbrain | February 8, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse
I should have specified, PAGE 12

Posted by: MOMwithAbrain | February 8, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

AP = math and science
IB = writing preparedness

If your child is math/science inclined, then the IB program is not suitable for him/her...IB math is not even close nor equivalent to AP math, that's a fact. On the other hand, it is also true that IB focuses on writing assays more in depth than AP. Both programs have pros/cons. The only difference is how many credits are awarded at a given university.

AP is more mainstream--that is the reason college credits are awarded from the majority of schools thoroughout the US. Parents should be informed of the differences, so they won't be dissapointed when their kids start college.

Glad to hear IB kids are doing well in college, but don't disservice the community in general saying that only they are better prepared to deal with life in college--that's simply not true. At this point in time, I truly don't believe they will change the system--I should know. Opinions run too deep to come to an agreement on how to implement a cohesive credit program for IB, given the fact that is simply not taught at the majority of high schools thoroughout the US.

Suffice to say, this is a personal crusade for Mr. Matthews--wish him the best of luck.

Posted by: rm1024 | February 8, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

The Fordham Report was manipulated to favor IB, is not peer reviewed and the Math Professor requested that his name be removed from the report as Jay himself reported!

Seriously Jay - stop whining about SL IB exams. It's so unattractive. IBO has had 40 years to vet its exams with U.S. universities, but it is too arrogant to be bothered and do the work the College Board did for its exams. Instead, IBO counts on you as its media shill to try and guilt admissions officers into giving your precious IBers credit on hearsay. Pathetic!

Posted by: lisamc31 | February 8, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Those aged 18-20 are also adults and not "kids" or "teens", meaning they shouldn't be called those words. The University of Virginia and every college and university in the United States must acknowledge all credits which prospective university students have completed. It's unjustified that the University of Virginia better acknowledges AP credits better than IB credits so there must be reform and the usual comments which university staff must not be given credibility.

Posted by: LibertyForAll | February 8, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

AP is both a course and a test. I didn't mean to imply that students had to take the course to take the test.
I think you are right that generally AP focuses on lots of topics, often sacrificing depth. But that's b/c it mimics the typical college intro course.
I think Jay sets up a false dichotomy here. The issue is not the fact that IB may be the equal of or even superior to AP but what the programs are intended to do.
Here's a sports analogy. Let's assume AP is like the 100 meter runner and IB is like the triple jump athlete. Colleges have the 100 meter dash only. The triple jump athlete may demonstrate that she is faster and overall a better athlete than the 100 meter runner but it is really difficult to overlay her event with what the colleges do, whereas it is easy in the case of AP. Many colleges of course will recognize IB but if IB wants further recognition the onus should be on that organization to establish equivalencies the way AP has. That equivalency should be in the form of scientific reseach not an educational lobbyist.
BTW several of these posts introducing the UN component here and disparaging IB appear to have been written by the same person. For comparison sake you can see this repetitive theme at Jay's Admission 101 website. Look for the poster there who has over 5000 posts with little variation.

Posted by: patrickmattimore1 | February 8, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

for Momwithabrain, I would wager you were sending up this point of view, which I haven't heard in a long time. If not, welcome back, but before you dismiss IB as a plot against America, please actually sit in on a few classes. Or read their textbooks. You will be surprised.

For patrickmattimore, you ask many good questions. I am going to try to do something longer responding to them.

For rm1024, one of the few studies we have of the college experiences of IB students, done by the University of Florida, show that students who had IB Chemistry and skipped that university's intro course did better in second year chemistry than students who did take the university's intro course.

Posted by: Jay Mathews | February 8, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

And for Patrick Mattimore, the biggest flaw in yr argument about AP deserving credit because it is overseen by colleges to mimic college intro courses is the fact that AP is now changing itself to become much more like IB and much less like the content-emphasizing standard college intro course. They are decoupling AP from standard college intro courses. What is up with that? Also, I think we both agree that it makes no sense to require IB students to take AP tests, without taking the AP course, to get college credit. A simple survey will determine which IB SL courses produce students who score high on the relevant AP test and get college credit. Colleges can then give credit for good grades on the IB test in those courses and not force the poor IB student to hand over another $86 to AP to get the credit.

Posted by: Jay Mathews | February 8, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Jay thinks he can get away with just calling all IB courses "rigorous" and then abuse universities for not giving credit to STANDARD LEVEL (SL) exams. SL IB courses are 150 hours. IBO has NEVER defined the difference in DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY between 150 hour SL IB course and a 240 HL IB course. Furthermore, IB bills its courses as "college-preparatory" while AP is the equivalent of freshmen "college-level" courses.

And finally, IBO does not "mandate" any textbooks to accompany its courses. However, IBO DOES recommend using UN lessons to impart its indoctrination to students when it concentrates on its "themes".

IB is junk education and should be removed from American public schools.

Posted by: lisamc31 | February 8, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

"...the fact that AP is now changing itself to become much more like IB"

God forbid. Proof please.

Posted by: lisamc31 | February 8, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I have to say as a UVA student and IB diploma recipient I am a little upset at the comments being made. I took IB and AP exams in high school and I must admit the IB exam definitely requires more thinking for yourself than simple regurgitation of information. I was especially saddened when I discovered I would not receive credit for my 6's (the exams are graded out of 7) in both Spanish and AB Initio French because they were standard level. I ended up taking the placement exam at the University which placed me above the language-level requirement. I would also like to add that to only give credit to HL is unfair since it was recommended to me to only take 3 HL courses during high school, the work load being too stressful with any more HL classes.
Finally, what is wrong with a little community service? I know that when I was applying to colleges that was what a lot of admissions offices were looking for in a application. Not to mention, this helps the student become more well-rounded.

Posted by: wahoofan12 | February 8, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Jay for taking this on. Seems really unfair and wrong-headed of UVA to discriminate. I will advise my teen to not apply to UVA.

Some of the writers above are just plain wrong. With regard to IB math, at my kid's school, some of the IB math classes are more rigorous than the non IB "honors" classes and the calculus class is AP/IB so the same class. The difference in rigor might have been true years ago.

And all of the IB courses my teen has taken are way more rigorous than any of the AP classes he has taken. And the leftist comments are just plain ignorant. The IB program started in Europe and has a global perspective. Awareness of other cultures and literature is a hallmark. This is what makes the program so wonderful.

Posted by: commentator3 | February 9, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

JAY, why do you continue to ignore the political agenda within this program? It's not like it's hidden from view. They display it at their web site and incorporate it in the program.

In addition to the political agenda, they also use a Constructivist methodology in the classroom. Now I'm sure you know from all of the anti-fuzzy math folks, Constructivism is a flawed approach to teaching.

Look, I understand that public schools have seriously dropped the ball on educating students and AP seems to be the only way of raising standards and challenging students.

But that's no excuse to setttle for a political indoctrination program.

Look at what Hirsch says about Constructivism:

You know as well as I do, this is not what is helping to make Mass. students the best in the country. You know it's giving students knowledge.

IB sells itself on this idea that students can think critically by going through IB. However who has the ability to think better? The student with MORE information, or the student with less?

Teach the kids k-12. Give them the information.

OUr schools have a knowledge deficit problem. Not a problem arguing issues.

Posted by: MOMwithAbrain | February 9, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse


I'm sorry you were misled by your school as to the "wonders" of IB. You could have taken 4 HL IB courses for the Diploma.

No one is saying there's anything wrong with community service. Both of my children received community service credit from their HS WITHOUT doing IB. But herein lies the difference - they did it because it was from the heart, not because a foreign organization mandated it.


Anyone who uses the word "rigorous" to describe IB is morally required to send me $1 each time they use the word :-D

The IB program was philosophically founded and funded by UNESCO. It is "international education" that promotes the creation of "global citizens" and one-world government. It should remain in private international schools and be removed from American public schools.

Children don't need the UN to teach them foreign languages and awareness of foreign cultures and governments. Take a look at what Benjamin Franklin recommended regarding FL, centuries before the UN:

All intended for Divinity should be taught the Latin and Greek ; for Physick, the Latin, Greek and French; for Law, the Latin and French; Merchants, the French, German, and Spanish: And though all should not be compell'd to learn Latin, Greek, or the modern foreign Languages; yet none that have an ardent Desire to learn them should be refused; their English, Arithmetick, and other Studies absolutely necessary, being at the same Time not neglected.

Posted by: lisamc31 | February 9, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

to momwithabrain . . .

I am a reciepent of the IB Diploma and after sitting through exams, writing papers, and participating in my community, I was never once encouraged to abuse women or support a socialist, anti-feminist regime. Even the suggestion that I or my fellow students were brainwashed is absurd and frankly, insulting. I was instructed by some of the finest, most dedicated teachers in matters of science,mathematics, and the arts. Believe me, there was enough "knowledge" provided to me. If you had ever taken an IB course, perhaps you would understand exactly to what extent "knowledge" was present.
Of course the IB website will have an international cooperation attitude - it's an international program.
I can only hope that your brain may one day understand or accept the quality of education that I have received.

As for credit, I participated in the diploma program with the previous understanding that I would not receive much college credit but with the belief that I would be better prepared for future coursework. I am a strong advocate of college credit being earned, oddly enough, in college.

Posted by: student77 | February 9, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

A few questions:

1) UVA and many -- MANY -- other top state universities have had the same policy for years. Why won't the IB Organization make a stink of this? My answer: they really don't care. Also, one look at the IB Math SL and IB Math Studies SL course syllabus and you'd quickly figure out why it wouldn't get college credit. (The Fordham study wasn't about getting college credit,
it was about whether the advanced studies programs were of a "gold standard" for HIGH SCHOOLS or not)

2) Why should we expect introductory college courses (and, thus, AP or IB courses)to be "deep"? They are INTRODUCTORY. This isn't a master's thesis. Many, if not most, college 101 courses are about satisfying a minimum requirement or are used to "weed out" students in a pre-med/law/engineering curriculum. My answer: We shouldn't. College credit isn't given because someone worked harder or is more intelligent, its given if the person took a course that is similar to the one given at the university.

3)Why don't IB high schools level with the students? For years, they have known IB gets less college credit, but still tell the students that college credit isn't what its about. They say its about being prepared for college study habits and time management. I even had a conversation about this last week with an IB Diploma student who said it word for word. My answer: the administrators don't want to admit they overlooked this. The administrators don't care that students, when they get to college, can save money or have extra time to work or to take more interesting electives.

4)Why don't the high schools in Fairfax county tell the accelerated math students that they must take a year off if they want to be in IB? Students who take Calculus BC as Juniors (there are about 1,000) take the college courses Matrix Algebra and Multivariable Calculus as Seniors. This is just plain unavailable to IB students, who usually take statistics as sophomores (which is off the accelerated track they were on), because they MUST take IB Math HL as junior/seniors. My answer: the students' parents would flip.

Posted by: MG14 | February 9, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Student 77,
The fact that you could not tell you were being indoctrinated while an IB student tells me something!
You will note how IB is USED by the UN to promote it's peace agenda in the classroom. (someone forgot to tell the UN peacekeepers in the CONGO who raped and molested children a few years ago)
But what is the UN's idea of peace? Well it's grounded in socialism. You see, wealth redistribution is part of "peace" according to the UN.
Look, you received your IB diploma. I'm sure you were fed a nice dose of propaganda without realizing you were being used. I think that's obvious.
Not everyone believes that k-12 classrooms should be used for propaganda purposes.

Why I bet you didn't notice that the UN Declared April 22 MOTHER EARTH DAY. IB followed suit and will be celebrating pantheism in the classroom too. IB students will be fed more UN propaganda on Mother earth day. All you have to do is look at their web site again:

While IB was claiming they were trying to teach you how to think, they were using you. I know it's a hard pill to swallow. Now would be a good time to use those supposed critical thinking skills and look at this honestly?

Posted by: MOMwithAbrain | February 9, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

MG14 wrote: "4)Why don't the high schools in Fairfax county tell the accelerated math students that they must take a year off if they want to be in IB? Students who take Calculus BC as Juniors (there are about 1,000) take the college courses Matrix Algebra and Multivariable Calculus as Seniors. This is just plain unavailable to IB students, who usually take statistics as sophomores (which is off the accelerated track they were on), because they MUST take IB Math HL as junior/seniors. My answer: the students' parents would flip"

Actually, at least one FCPS IB school does offer its students multivariate calculus/matrix algebra see the information here: 5

Posted by: researcher2 | February 9, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

You're not cheated. If you don't like the school's policy, the answer is simple: DON'T GO THERE.

Posted by: member8 | February 9, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

I wholeheartedly agree with MG14 but most people don't seem to get that the college credit thing isn't about comparing IB to AP but comparing AP to a college intro course and IB to a college intro course. If you want credit you better match up pretty well.
Let me try another analogy. If someone goes to a pie-baking contest their pie will be judged relative to the other pies. AP's pie has been found to match up well at the college pie fair. If someone else, however, brings a really scrumptious cake and everyone agrees that it is much better than any of the pies, that cake still won't be entered in the pie contest. IB's cakes may be the best thing since sliced bread but they still often don't get college credit because they ain't pies.
As to Jay's comments that AP is becoming more like IB. That may well be true. Certainly AP has begun experimenting with several of its subjects to require greater writing. There also seems to be a movement afoot to make the AP grading less norm referenced and more criterion referenced (answers indicate that students can perform certain competencies reflected in their scores). The fact that the College Board is willing to take those steps is incredibly courageous (or at least demonstrates a high level of foresight and willingness to experiment). After all, they certainly don't have to. The program grows by about 10% a year and although AP v. IB provides some of us who love this stuff ammo to banter, there really is no contest. IB affects so relatively few students that this isn't a contest between Hertz and Avis but between the New Orleans Saints and a Division 3 NCAA football team.

Posted by: patrickmattimore1 | February 9, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

MonwithAbrain turns out to have a lopsided brain as she insisted on some conspiracy agenda from UN. She just intends to incite argument but really does not offer much in terms of "education" values or any coherent postulation.
Much has been published regarding the "rote" learning of AP vs. more intellectual IB direction. So why argue about that?
Taking side for IB vs. AP does not explain the decision or direction that the article aimed at the discrepancy between IB's and AP's granted credits at uVA and that uVA is coming around to recognize the value of IB's education as proven in the students at their colleges. I don't doubt that some of the AP students are very good (and some are just plain regurgitants.) To this point, at least, IB fails to recognize the students with good photographic memory and chooses to encourage its students to think for themselves with the opinions expressed in the books they read. [BTW, there is no such thing as facts once written in the books. That is why they are opinions.]
I do somewhat agree that the SL course work should be recognized for the effort therein, and AP should be less rote learning. And yes, uVA must give more credits to the IB kids - just to be fair.

Posted by: NonStandardEdu | February 9, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Now a point about education. wahoofan12 said that her kids performed community service with "heart." My question to her is where her kids came up with the idea to do community services? Their hearts just one day decided to push them to help those in needs? Come on! Here is my point, any education system requires a set of standards, otherwise, leaving up to the kids with "hearts" to achieve some minimal education is like "Newton sleeping under the apple tree..." You get my point.
The general problem with education in the US is that - there are NO standards. If you happen to go to a decent school (like uVA 8-) they impose a "rigourous" set of standard learning on you and (it also happens that) you adapt well to those standards and do well... and eventually become recognized in the world (or work place.) The US seems to think that all of its citizens are supposed to be "well-educated" and fails to recognize the intelligence distribution among them. In other words, its citizens are no different from another country's beings. Some do well in certain things but not others. I have seen so many kids in this county with a Bachelor degree who could not spell or write a letter, and highs chool students that do not even know 4 quarts equal a gallon. I would strongly dispute that these people are not good for anything, but finding something for them to perform well in the society is the function of education - not trying to graduate everyone on paper. To that end, a set of standards for learning is required for people to be in college trying to reach for higher learning as they are good at this type of learning, e.g., a scientist or doctor (that is another story!) Think about the reduction in the number of colleges and universities in this country, and no longer the Ivys can look down on others 8-).
So to all you well wishers out there, please think about this instead of trying to defend something that is so like our education system - lower denominator for everyone.

Posted by: NonStandardEdu | February 9, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I love UVa, I love the fact that they once gave me 30 hours of AP credit. Many years later, my daughter was in several AP classes at a Fairfax County high school. But I moved my son from our local AP high school to a high school with an IB Diploma program, and it was the best parenting decision I've ever made. The Higher Level math and biology seem as challenging as AP BC Calculus and AP Biology, the extended essay is the best writing experience I can imagine a high school student getting anywhere and the curriculum is simply better integrated across disciplines. Best of all, he's doing Economics on-line with a teacher in Oslo, a partner for projects in Madrid, classmates all over the world and a perspective I could never have imagined at his age. As for college credit, yeah, I'd be glad to see UVa wise up on this issue. But even without equivalent credit, I've had a child in AP and a child in IB, and I'll take IB any day.

And for the hyperventilating mother with (?) a brain, I keep a pretty close eye on educational issues, and I actually haven't noticed any UN indoctrination. But don't worry, I'm on my guard.

Posted by: UVAgrad1 | February 10, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

you shouldn't take the comments about the un indoctrination comments to seriously, I'm assuming its IB students showing there unhappiness about the course through sarcasm. (I found a site similar to what was posted earlier I'm assuming its a joke)

However, Not everyone can switch out of an school system, is everyone rich?

However, I heard it took a long time for AP to become 'standard', teachers have said that IB is relativly new. Yet i have read from numerous sources, including this article, that AP is starting to adapting to test like IB.

However, Students may not gain credits from IB, but I'm sure after what we have experience, the first few years of college should be much easier.

My school didn't offer AP, and I only joined IB on a whim, (I'm first generation student so my parents never understood much about school), however, like all the full IB students in my classes, I'm two years ahead of most students in my school.

Posted by: 1337chopsticks | February 10, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Researcher 2 Wrote: Actually, at least one FCPS IB school does offer its students multivariate calculus/matrix algebra see the information here: 5

Great! It doesn't seem to have been available at Marshall or Robinson, which have many more IB students.

Considering there were only 33 IB Diplomas awarded at Stuart in 2009, I wonder how many students are actually taking these classes. Small class size can be an IB advantage, though it gives the non-IB students the short end of that. This brings up another problem with IB: The rest of the school's course offerings are offered only after the Diploma candidates' courses are filled. Especially in a time when budgets are requiring higher class sizes, your non-IB student gets less course availability. You wonder how many more classes a school could offer if they didn't have to give some IB courses. For example, 11 students in the whole county took the computer science course, 12 in Design Tech, 14 in English A2, etc. These are in the whole county! How small could the individual classes have been?

Why don't the non-IB students in those classes complain?

Posted by: MG14 | February 10, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

First, why are we picking on UVA? When I checked dozens of colleges last year, few if any gave college credit for AP SL level courses.

Second, wouldn't it make sense for Jay to pick a local H.S. and write to all recent graduates asking whether they took AP or IB and what their grade was in the corresponding course? Perhaps, for example, history students do better if they've taken an IB course but Physics students benefit more from AP. The results would be the first "hard" data I've seen on how well each prepares a student for college courses. He could even separate responses for students in "Top 50" colleges from the remainder. Then, if the data suggested that IB was at least as effective in helping students pass college courses, Jay would have another book topic as he checks with college departments and asks them to respond to his data. I know I'd warn students about college departments that have no data of their own and ignore Jay's.

3. I agree it would be nice if IBO were willing to validate its test scores in the way I've suggested but maybe they lack Jay's credibility given their incentive to massage the numbers to increase IB participation. (Or maybe they are committed to the idea that their courses can't be judged by how well students do on the next level. Or maybe the poster above is correct and they just don't care.)

4. Finally, this discussion may be becoming moot as colleges increasingly allow and accept dual credit courses in which they can exercise greater control over the curriculum (and become less likely to accept AP OR IB tests as subsdtitutes for their own courses).

Posted by: mct210 | February 11, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I noticed you had no facts to dispute the UN driven agenda. It's in the IB program, they happily display it on their web site, so no, there's no conspiracy, simply facts you cannot dispute.
Rote memorization? Compared to Constructivism per IB?
Let's look at Constructivism, shall we?
Looks like even the scientific studies show you it's not the best methodology one should use in a classroom.
Here's another one:
Now I suppose if your public school offers watered down classes to begin with, IB might look good.
But to those in college prep private schools, this is a joke.

Posted by: MOMwithAbrain | February 12, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm still waiting for JAY to explain to us why he supports a political indoctrination program in the schools?
yes our schools are failing to provide a rigorous course of study on the high school level, but you don't settle for a Constructivist political program!
Private schools all over this country offer college prep. They offer knowledge to students.
This idea that you can teach critical thinking MINUS facts is absurd.
K-12 is a time where students need to absorb information and facts so they can then USE this information to think critically.
We don't have a problem with students unable to think critically, we have a knowledge deficit problem.

Mass. is succeeding above every state in the nation. They did this by setting quality academic standards and built a content based sequence on top of that.

This came from the Core Knowledge folks and they are proving content matters.

Constructivism is an old tired fad that being revised in classrooms and failing students.

Posted by: MOMwithAbrain | February 12, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

As a general rule, I refuse to stoop to dealing with posters like these.

I'll observe for the moment that "The fact that you could not tell you were being indoctrinated while an IB student tells me something" assumes that clearly, despite not having taken any IB classes personally, mom has clearly deduced the truth better than any student who actually took the classes.

I couldn't possibly hope to counter momwithabrain's arguments with silly things like "actually seeing the IB curriculum for myself," "Jay's column is not about the political inclinations of various educational programs," or anything of the sort. Instead, I'll just quietly think of

Posted by: arkleseizure17 | February 15, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company