School Board Says Solution to Low IB Test Scores is More Study

Clarke County’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program report card arrived in the mail last week and, based on the grades, it looks as if Mom and Dad aren’t going to be too happy. Last night the Clarke County School Board and top school administrators agreed that IB results were disappointing but deferred a corrective action plan until a joint School Board – teacher work group can be convened once instructors return from summer break.

“These extended essay grades make me shudder,” said School Board member Emily Rhodes (Buckmarsh).

Rhodes’ reference was to the extended essay score section of the IB program 2011 performance summary where only two students scored in the “good” range, designated by the letter grade of “B” while 15 students scored in the “satisfactory”, “mediocre” or “elementary” range designated as letter grades “C”, “D” or “E”.

Individual performance in the IB Theory of Knowledge course was only slightly better with 9 students still only achieving “mediocre” results.

Students in the IB Diploma Programme follow six courses either at the “higher level” or “standard level.” An IB diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points (fewer than 1% of students gain the full 45 points possible), subject to certain minimum levels of performance across the whole diploma and achieve satisfactory participation in creativity, action and service.

Generally about 80% of Diploma Programme students worldwide are awarded the diploma each examination session.

Clarke County’s IB diploma rate this year dropped to about 35%..

“Our scores in science, math, and biology are not good and we need additional work there,” Director of Curriculum and Instruction Lisa Floyd acknowledged before the School Board last night.

With state education budget funding in decline and poor student IB performance, last night the Clarke County School Board debated the options on the best approach for corrective action. But at the moment, elimination of the IB program in favor of the less costly, but more technical, Advanced Placement program doesn’t appear to be on the table.

CCPS 2011 International Baccalaureate test score results: Key - 7 Excellent 6 Very good 5 Good 4 Satisfactory 3 Mediocre 2 Poor 1 Very poor N No grade (Click to enlarge)

“Rather than debate whether AP would be better than IB, I believe at this juncture we must make a frank, honest and in-depth analysis of the reasons why our students are doing so poorly in our IB courses, and take the necessary steps to  remediate the deficiencies” said School Board member Robina Bouffault (White Post).  “There should be an in-depth exploration of the pros and cons of each and every advanced program we currently offer, including the Bridge program.”

“Universities and colleges today continue to be much more geared towards AP than IB,” Bouffault continued. “They work closely with the College Board who provides considerable support, while many of them look askance at the IB Geneva organization, and do not necessarily give credits for IB courses taken, or diplomas.      AP has more acceptance – a fact which must be taken into account when opting for the IB diploma.”

However, Bouffault said that she still prefers the comprehensive and more international scope of the IB program, especially as the US economy becomes increasingly global and says that doing away with the IB program is not the solution to the current poor test scores.

Clarke County presently partners with Lord Fairfax Community College, James Madison University, and Shenandoah University to offer dual enrollment opportunities for students to gain college level course credit.

“Proposing to jettison IB would not resolve the current issues, I believe,” Bouffault said.  “However, the problem we are going to face is a double one: How to improve our results, and how to be cost efficient while doing it. I believe that our teacher-training in the IB curriculum has been insufficient, and needs improvement.”

CCPS 2011 International Baccalaureate test score results:The TOK course and the extended essay are graded according to the following scale. A Excellent B Good C Satisfactory D Mediocre E Elementary N No grade (Click to enlarge)

At last night’s meeting Clarke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy acknowledged that while the school system had spent two years focusing on teacher training, other factors still contribute to a student’s success or failure with IB courses.

“Clarke County is still an open enrollment school,” Murphy said. “That means that anyone can take an IB level course.” Murphy also noted that IB program participation had declined significantly since the school division’s decision to stop paying for IB test fees.

“We used to pay $106K a year for IB tests,” Murphy said. “I’m not sure about the grades but the participation rate was certainly higher then.”

School Board member Janet Alger (Russell) said that she believed that the low grades, in part, are attributable to students who aren’t completely convinced of the benefits that they will derive from IB’s rigorous course work and sometimes sign-up for the program based on parental prompting rather than personal achievement goals.

“I think that part of it is that today’s student culture doesn’t see what IB gives them long-term,” Alger said.

Alger suggested that the School Board and school staff convene two work sessions to separately consider the challenges facing both the IB and AP programs and to come up with solutions. Both Murphy and Bouffault enthusiastically embraced   Alger’s proposal.

“I agree with Janet [Alger],” Bouffault said. “We need to have a brainstorming session with staff.”

“We’ll find a date and get everyone together,” Murphy agreed.

Lisa Floyd said that she has already scheduled an IB review for August 4th when school staff return from summer break, but also welcomed Alger’s proposal for an additional collaborative problem solving session.

“Asking ‘why’ and then bringing together folks to discuss the issues and implications is paramount” Floyd said on Tuesday.

But in a climate of economic austerity the ultimate outcome for any performing program can never be assured.

“The cost element looms its ugly head,” said Bouffault. “The IB program is much more expensive than the AP program. Budgets are tight, and from every indication, will be getting worse next year. This aspect too, must be added to the questions being asked, as the FY13 budget is announcing itself as brutal.”

CCPS IB Program performance 2001 - 2011 (Click to enlarge)


CCPS IB Program diploma rate 2008 - 2011 (Click to enlarge)

CCPS IB Program registration rate 2008 - 2011 (Click to enlarge)


  1. RasputinSays says:

    Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy acknowledged that while the school system had spent two years focusing on teacher training, other factors still contribute to a student’s success or failure with IB courses.

    “Clarke County is still an open enrollment school,” Murphy said. “That means that anyone can take an IB level course.”

    So the problem is the students? So in other words, “If we only had better students, our scores wouldn’t be as bad as they are.” Really? That is a strange way to approach a problem as glaring as the performance outlined in the IB results.

    Or maybe it was the excuse that parents are pushing kids into IB programs when kids aren’t actually motivated to do the work? Wrong! Recall the much lauded “#3 in the WaPo Challenge Index”? It was displayed like a badge of honor on a banner in front of Cooley in 2006. It measures a public high school’s effort to challenge its students. Clarke placed number three and was open enrollment then. Try again.

    No the problem is not the students.

    It is absolutely shameful to pawn off what is clearly a failure of administrators on the students. I have heard better misdirection excuses from children than those provided last night.

    My dog ate the IB results?

    • The “WaPo Challenge Index” uses a method of measuring how much a school challenges its students that relies on bogus statistics: add up ALL advanced tests taken (IB, AP, etc.) taken by ALL students enrolled in the school (Gr. 9-12) and then divide by the number of graduating seniors. Really?

      When the previous admin opened the floodgates and allowed anyone who wanted to take an IB course to do so, you’re going to see high enrollment #s but not necesarily the level of achievement. The drop from 09 to 10 is the last of that “accelerated push.”

      My oldest child has enjoyed the tougher classes. I also know that other schools require students to apply to get into the IB program, using that as a means to ensure that those enrolled are truly up to the task and want to be there. A few divisions, like Henrico County, offer the middle-school IB program as a precursor to the full-bore IB program; again, one has to apply to get in.

      It offers a lot of good, if the teachers are up to snuff and supported by adequate resources and the parents and kids understand what’s necessary to succeed at that level. There are some kids, though, that don’t belong in those classes. I know I wouldn’t have done well in them, because I ain’t wired that way.

  2. ADollarShort says:

    I thought Biology is a science? The problem with the IB program might be the teachers that have left. Their replacements are not very impressive. Especially in Biology.

  3. I believe that the students must be engaged by a) providing motivated and energetic teachers and b) having the students learn by helping them to understand that by this age if they don’t get actively involved in what they are being taught, they are letting themselves down. Motivation is the key, I believe, and it is a two-way street.
    There are teachers out there who understand how to motivate, and students who understand motivation. Can’t we ask them to show the rest of us how it’s done?
    Programs with initials are great (I personally prefer AP — it’s more straightforward and can be tailored to the student’s interest without committing to a huge program, and is more widely known among colleges). However, if students aren’t lead by the teachers to want to learn (meaning, not spoon-fed while they sit there, which doesn’t work at this level), scores will not rise, but worse, and more sadly, students will not gain the confidence of having experienced true achievement, which comes from “I did it!!” and NOT from “They made me do it…”

  4. Midwesterner says:

    However if you look at the IB High Level courses, Clarke students have generally shown increases in performance since 2008 — excepting English which is a concern. In Am History, the world scores have dropped steadily since 2008 while Clarke HL History students have climbed. The HL IB students — while receiving lower numeric scores — are in sync with the world numbers or have generally increased since 2008.

    This is the problem with charts and tables and graphs — you can make the data say what you want…or just not look at the data that doesn’t support your position….or just use that data that makes your point.

    I fear this will ultimately boil down to finger pointing, bickering, whining, and other less-adult responses before it’s all through. An appropriate example?

    But I think it proves the point — there’s no such thing as a free lunch. If “we” complain about how terrible the low performance on these tests are, “we” the community, county and school board will need to put our money and support where our pointing fingers and mouths are.

    • Grass man says:

      I think it proves another point- are we at the right lunch counter?

    • CollegeKnowledge says:

      The IB Higher Level (HL) scores have remained at or below world averages in all the 6 subjects the high school offers. The only HL score increasing has been Biology, but this still remains well below the world average in each of the last 4 years. College admissions officers have told me that a score of 4 in IB exams is considered a passing score, but that most colleges and universities which award credit for IB courses require a score of 5 or above on HL exams. Neither UVA nor VT award credit for Standard Level (SL) IB Certificate courses. Only VT offers possible credit for SL courses as part of the IB Diploma with a minimum score of 6. UVA offers possible credit for HL scores of 5, 6 or 7, and VT offers possible credit for HL scores at a minimum of 4. Additionally, VT only offers possible credits for a minimum score of C on the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge as part of the IB Diploma.

      It is not the only goal of IB study to achieve college credit, but for many families this achievement can save many thousands of dollars at a post-secondary institution. Thus, it is important to ensure that our high school is offering the very best advanced level courses so that students are able to gain college credits and achieve solid preparation for college.

      • UniversityPerversity says:

        I agree with everything said above but I must ask… what is up with Clarke County and their perverse attraction to those two schools? There are a plethora of exceptional schools in this state. There also happen to be many fine universities and colleges OUTSIDE of Virginia, but all you ever hear of here are VT and UVA.

        • MatriculationMalnutrition says:

          I think the writer above was not implying that UVA and VT are the only schools that one should consider- just that they are indicitave of the policies that colleges use in accepting IB scores for possible credit.

          • UniversityPerversity says:

            I understand and acquiesce that these schools are being used as examples for the IB debate. This is just something I have been wondering about for the more than ten years of residing in Clarke. I have even heard ‘through the grapevine’, that alums from these schools receive preferential hiring when applying for work within our school system. The attitude that I have encountered here is that these are ‘the best’ of the colleges in Virginia and as CollegeKnowledge opened the door, this just appeared to be a proper venue to pose the question. I don’t suppose there is a rational answer other than the colleges’ relatively close proximity to Clarke.

          • Hmmm... says:

            The previous superintendent has several strong ties with UVA and its Curry School of Education. Smalley and Eberhardt were also professors in the UVA Master’s in School Admin cohort that quite a few CCPS staff went through. Some used to joke of a “UVA mafia,” but I don’t know enough to speak to your rumor-mongering about hiring preferences back then.

            Virginia Tech has strong ties due to the FFA and Voc/Ag component and culture @ CCHS. The long-time FFA sponsor (now retired) was a big VT promoter. VT also supports the local Extension Agent and works closely with the farmers in the county.

            Both VT and UVA are, in may accounts, considered the best schools in Virginia, and rightfully so for many reasons too numerous to list. However, others are correct in pointing out that there are other equally good schools.

  5. Grass man says:

    Well said, Wendy. At a high school level, education can be either a feast or just another slog down the cafeteria line. I’m afraid in the past few years, IB has degraded into the latter. The school administration must, at some point, ask themselves if all of the resources, time and effort are worth getting six IB diplomas. What do you tell the twelve students who failed to get the diploma? Maybe “Thanks for spending two years on this. Here are your certificates for taking the courses. You can take them home and archive them along with your perfect attendance certificate and old term papers.”

    I agree with you on AP in that it would offer high level courses at a lower cost to the Division and with more flexibility in curriculum. It is time to lose the fascination with the international mystique of IB and focus on programs that actually produce results. Not all of our graduates will be going on to international banking and the diplomatic corps.

  6. Mitchell Rode says:

    Some of the comments regarding the IB program suggest a misunderstanding of how it works and its intent, so I thought I’d clarify. Along with some of my own opinion and experience.

    First, we must distinguish between the IB program and the IB diploma. The courses are designed to be enriching and more rigorous than standard fare, with the goal of not only preparing students for further educational development but for engagement in a global setting, as well. Someone who embraces the entire program has the IB diploma as an ultimate objective; but this is NOT a requirement nor does it negate the benefits of participation in the program at any level desired. Therein lies the point of Jay Mathews’ Challenge Index. As a longtime investigator of educational methods and their effects, he has come to realize that PARTICIPATION in the programs is the key element. Thus, he measures the degree of higher level participation in a school to assess the program’s effectiveness at engaging students in rigorous learning. (And it’s not a bogus statistical measure. It’s a very real assessment. But at the same time, take it for what it’s worth. It’s only one measure of many.) I have had two children graduate from Clarke County schools. Both participated in the IB program. One achieved the full diploma, the other did not. They both got accepted at very prestigious institutions of higher learning, and their IB involvement was a key factor. They both benefited tremendously from their participation and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

    In addition, I think Dr. Murphy’s comment relative to open enrollment was in no way intended to demean Clarke County students. That’s a real stretch to take his words and imply such. But it is important to understand that a system which allows ALL students to participate in IB level courses if they wish will nearly always score lower than schools which pre-select their students. One could make the argument that such schools are only safeguarding that the selected students are really up to the task. One could just as easily argue that such schools are simply proactively ensuring that their scores are not dragged down by low performing students. Personally I prefer the Clarke County approach. Such an approach is more likely to have the positive life-affirming effect of finding that diamond in the rough that engages with a motivated teacher and turns his or her life around as a result of the experience. That’s the kind of engagement that Wendy referred to in her post and I would suggest it is more likely to occur the more students you give the opportunity to.

    Some years ago, I worked with the administration at the high school and put on several “college days”, wherein recent grads came back to talk to junior and senior students about the college experience and how to prepare for it. The kids asked questions but if the program lagged, we always had a few prepped questions to get things going. And we always closed with one last question: “Did your experience at Clarke County High School adequately prepare you for college?” The answers were consistent across the board: “No. With the exception of the IB program. The course work involved, as well as the extended essay preparation, were the closest thing to our college experience.” (And before you jump to the conclusion that this “No” answer is some sort of indictment of the overall high school program in Clarke County, understand that this answer is consistent in high schools across the country.) I agree that not every student is going to go on to college. But I also believe that’s a lousy reason not to challenge children intellectually.

    I am a huge supporter of the IB program. My only past critique has been its lack of clarity as to what it is and how it works. It takes some digging to really flesh it out and understand it. For parents of kids just embarking on their high school career, the information can seem a bit daunting. Those of us who have been through it (especially, I’m sure, members of the CCCC) may be able to help. I, for one, would be happy to address questions from parents relative to it.

    In conclusion, my disclaimer. I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Clarke County Education Foundation. The Foundation does tremendous work in support of the Clarke County schools and the IB program. However, the opinions expressed in this email are expressed as mine alone and do not reflect the opinions of other members of the Board nor do they represent the position of the Foundation as a whole.

    • Wow. A member of the CCEF board has chosen to speak!! Whether he will speak with regards to the other issues raised about CCEF on this forum and elsewhere remains to be seen.

    • Tony Parrott says:

      I think that was well said.
      So it’s more about the journey; stretching yourself beyond your limits.
      Kind of like that old saying “better to have loved and lost than to never loved at all”.
      Ahh; I feel all mushy now.

      • Grass man says:

        “To do is to be”–Jean-Paul Sartre. “Do be do be do”–Frank Sinatra

  7. Tony Parrott says:

    Seriously folks, my fear about the IB program is (as I know I’ve said before) you cut off the funding and watch it die a slow and painful death. That is what I believe we are witnessing here. This is sad because I also believe we as parents we should set high expectations for our children even if they don’t obtain them. Getting children ready for college level courses even if they don’t go isn’t a bad thing. Let’s face the facts; you never stop learning. Doesn’t matter what career path you take you will always be expected to learn. It’s not so much what you learn but the fact you know how to learn. The faster you can pick up job skills the faster you move up the ladder.
    Furthermore I agree with Robina; getting rid of the program is not the answer. The question is much bigger than that. I believe the question is as parents, community leaders, teachers, administrators and yes BOS are we willing to set the bar higher for our children and each other or are we willing to settle for mediocrity?

  8. Why we left CCHS says:

    Somebody woke up!

    It was obvious the IB wasn’t the right thing for our kids, despite it being forced down their throats. Moving to a private school which offered AP and and some dual enrollment saved THOUSANDS (and yes, we paid for those AP tests) in college tuition, even factoring in the private school costs…..having a newly graduated kid enroll as a junior in college is well worth the 88 bucks a pop on the handful or so of tests.

    AP…..ASAP please.

    • livein22611 says:

      Amen! I believe parents and students were brainwashed into believeing that IB was the only way to get into college. Are results of “mediocre” really what you want for your child? And parents were sold on the idea that IB classes would be accepted as college credit by colleges and save them money. We are now seeing just how false that is. I’m not totally against IB, but when you put all you eggs in one basket your not serving your students like you should. IB diplomas are nice but not awarded until after kids are already accepted into a college. And you don’t need IB to be accepted at a college. Does it help? Yes. But Loudoun does not offer IB. Do you think their kids get accepted at the same colleges our kids do?? Yes. We need to start looking at other programs (AP!) and the schools need to honest with parents about what’s the right fit for their kid. A C or D, or now the E for “elementary”, in an IB class is not the right fit.

      • Clarifications says:

        livein22611, traditionally i would say you are correct in stating that IB diplomas are awarded after a student has already been accepted into a college; however, at CCHS this is not always the case. In fact, of the 6 students who recieved their IB Diploma this year at CCHS, 5 of them were juniors, who have not applied to, nor been accepted at any college or university. Furthermore, the 6th diploma recipient was a student who graduated a year early, but had chosen to persue the Full Diploma prior to making the decision to graduate early. Just to put it all into perspective of the 18 diploma candidates: 4 were seniors, 13 were juniors, and 1 was a graduating junior.

        The fact that CCHS offers students the opportunity to complete the IB diploma program at the end of their junior year is awesome. These students will be able to apply to colleges and state that they have already successfully completed the entire rigorous course. Also, in completing the program early the students dont run the risk of “senior-itis” (or whatever it is that seniors blame for slacking off the last nine-weeks) affecting their test scores and other IB work.

        To me it seems that many of the individuals commenting on this article in favor of “chopping the IB program which has been forced down the throats of CCHS students and parents” seem rather misinformed about how IB program works at CCHS (as well as throughout the entire world) and about what the aims of the program truly are.

        • Dear Clarifications,

          I’m very educated about the IB program. And the AP program. And college admission. The students I served in a true AP school have gone on to Harvard, Princeton, MIT, USAFA, USMA, USNA, UPenn, UC Berkley,…and UVA and VT as well as LFCC. College is all about the best fit for the student, what fits for some will not fit for others.

          Using SOL scores to select students for a program that was wholly tracked to the IB curriculum…was not the best fit. Taking an AP English exam as a freshman with no knowledge or preparation of the test, was not the best fit. Not explaining to students what the implications of this test would have on their college application process was not the best fit. Giving zero notice to parents this was going to occur, was not the best fit. Those are the basics of being in the IB program in Clarke County.

          The route to college is no longer straight forward based on simple tests and grades other factors are to be considered if college is the path a student is going to take. These include being an informed consumer, because college is a giant investment. Choices about college means choices about the high school curriculum. The choice between IB and AP should be left to the family, and not the school.

  9. I retired from an IB school, but my subject was not yet included in the program. The school also retained a few AP courses, including my subject area. The school system provided major support for the IB program including expensive training trips for teachers (some were even out of the country), a dedicated staff member to serve as a coordinator, insistence upon all students taking the end-of-course test (and paying all costs) and recruiting teachers who were dedicated to the concept. Some of our teachers even served as test readers. In a system as small as Clarke, witfh limited resources, I am not surprised at the mediocre results, but I’m sure some students are benefiting from the program. The issue seems to hinge on cost/benefit analysis.

  10. Bob Vance says:

    I personally think its disgusting that the school would consider ditching the IB program all because students are preforming poorly. When clarke football or basket ball experiences a losing season no one advocates cutting funding for those programs in favor of an economical alternative. To the contrary funding for those programs seems to increase. What type of school would Clarke be if we simply cut progams that we weren’t good at?
    There are problems to be sure but those problems can be fixed. In reality there probably isn’t one factor causing the poor Ib test scores, its multiple issues: the students, the staff and the materials for the courses all play a role. The last one specially if you go into the high school you’ll find that teachers are forced to teach IB curriculum with non Ib materials. The test books don’t match with the whats on the test and the school claims it doesnt have the money to buy new ones.

    • CollegeKnowledge says:

      Mr. Vance, I am very concerned to read that you have gone into the high school and found that teachers are forced to teach the IB curriculum with non-IB materials, that the textbooks don’t match with what is on the test, and that the school claims it doesn’t have the money to buy new textbooks.

      CCHS is an IB World School and pays an annual school fee to IB for the Diploma Programme, currently $10,000 per year. This fee covers many services from IB, which includes, but is not limited to:

      • Full access to a world-class curriculum, covering over 200 subjects and levels within the
      Diploma Programme.
      • Secure access to the online curriculum centre for every teacher.
      • Professional support in all parts of the curriculum and in cross-curricular areas.
      • A wide range of IB curriculum and assessment publications to support teachers.

      The full list of IB fees and services can be found here:

      Link for fees

      • Hmmm... says:

        You can see it if you have the school login information.

      • Berryville bystander says:

        Nice cut-n-paste job, but – since we can’t see any fee list for that online curriculum center – are there fees associated with that? What about textbooks? Or is everything a simple download from that site?

        You also don’t mention the $227/student assessment fee per student per test, which CCPS used to pay.

        You really have to search through both the CCHS and CCPS websites to find anything on the IB program, including graphics and such; CCHS doesn’t even identify itself as an “IB World School.” If it really regards itself as such a school, then the support (money, teacher training, whatever) needs to match the talk. It’s time to put up or shut up.

    • Not sure says:

      But I believe football and basketball generate a lot of their revenue. How much funding for these sports actually come from the budget?

      • You mean, other than the $25,000 or more in coaching stipends, plus drug testing fees, insurance, and so forth?

  11. CurrentIBStudent says:

    I am a current student at CCHS who is enrolled in the IB diploma program. I just completed my first year and took only one test and got a 5. I have heard from my Theory of Knowledge teacher, and several others, that IB itself has an open door policy. By making CCHS a world IB school, they are required to allow any student to take an IB class that wants to. This is also how CCHS got in trouble with the Gifted program. CCHS labelled the IB program as their gifted program. However, a gifted program is defined as being “closed door” which means that a student is required to take a test for admittance. This is contradictory and hence there was a scandal about this. Also, a quick google search about this lead to no evidence that there is a “closed door” policy in IB.
    Since I only took one test, my view on this part might be a little skewed. However, I do not feel that I was as prepared as I could have been for my test. Each of my nine week grades were A+ and I got a 5 on the IB test. However, I felt as though the test was MUCH harder than any work I encountered during the course year. That being said, I’m perfectly fine with getting a 5, don’t get me wrong.
    In my IB science class, my teacher told the entire class that he is aiming for us to get a 3 on the IB test. Also, during every single test he tells us that we should shoot for a 60% and that he would be pleased with that.
    The only classes that I feel, at this stage, are on the track to being well prepared for the IB test are English HL and History of the Americas HL.
    In all honesty, I would prefer AP. A major reason for this is that AP classes focus more on college readiness and preparing the students for a real college class. IB focuses more on creating a student that is well rounded and “aware of the world around us”. As an example, here is the IB learner profile
    This just seems kind of “fluffy” to me. However, I would rather do the IB diploma program than just the few AP classes that CCHS offers. Even those classes aren’t offered every year.

  12. about two years ago the high school, in conjunction with a committee appointed by the current school board did a long comprehensive comparison of the advantages of both programs. The entire high school staff was part of it but more people were involved, including parants and community. IB, supplemented with some AP was the winning proposal. Perhaps there are some out there who were part of this that can speak to the issues many of you are raising. I can only speak of the classes I teach, which is English S.L. which I very strongly believe. I have spent years working with seniors, trying to prepare them for the rigors of college English. I stand by my scores although not many SL students take the test since we moved to a pay system. The element I think is the strongest about IB English is that it challenges students to think for themselves without providing a concrete multiple choice answer. They have to work for it and support it. This models what college requires in an English class. My classroom is trailer 1 and I invite anyone interested in having a conversation about how to help raise scores or which program is better for CCHS students to stop by and share an idea.

    One key element to success in any AP or IB class is reading the books, and in English class this is often the biggest barrier. I have the materials. Getting students to read them so that they do well in class and on exams is often difficult. Any suggestions?

  13. dreamon says:

    I understand what sells people on IB; however, a good teacher can make these things happen in a classroom without the IB label. Why does one need to have an IB classroom to challenge students to think deeper or to construct meaning from a text that is complicated? Teachers shouldn’t be giving multiple choice answers, anyway. ( I have an education background and am a teacher although not in Clarke; my children go here and will be in the high school in a few years. IB is something which I have researched as well). Furthermore, the desired outcomes of the IB curriculum can be achieved through effective teaching. We don’t need to have a “fancy” label attached to it.

    • Clarifications says:

      Dreamon, i fully agree with you on the matter that true quality teachers should be able to make students think deeperwithout the “fancy label”; however, these days education seems to be all about labels. Getting into a college is based to what courses you took and what their labels were. Although a student enrolled in “English 12” could be in a course which engages in rigorous classwork and true intellectual thought, a student who is enrolled in “IB English 12 HL” completing the same coursework will look more apealing on paper to college admissions. There is no real way to document the level of a course without the “fancy label”.

  14. dreamon says:

    I appreciate your comments; I, too, however, have knowledge about IB. I understand perfectly the idea that colleges look more fondly upon coursework done in either IB OR AP. I have spoken to most colleges in Virginia and they hold them both equally valuable; it’s just that Clarke wants everyone in the county to believe that IB is held in a much higher regard than AP. It is not. Colleges also look at class rank and extra curricular activities. What is misunderstood, however, is that it shouldn’t be about IB or AP. It should be about the learning taking place in the classroom. That really is what I am trying to point out. (And students who attend other high schools who don’t have IB are still getting accepted into what some would consider elite colleges)

  15. We are leaving our district thanks to IB and PYP- What a waste of money and time- This article is just another slap in the face to the infamous IB program- The IB agenda is to further global unity- citizenship- peaceful not make our kids academically advanced and leaders in in Math and Science- the proof is in the pudding when it comes to this program- you are tormenting kids- making them miserable all for what-