The Telegraph – International Baccalaureate: is it any good? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/secondaryeducation/10017618/International-Baccalaureate-is-it-any-good.html
In the recent Telegraph article about the IB, Jon Cartwright asks the question “is it any good”? The clear answer is ‘yes’.
Cartwright points out that the new “Advanced Baccalaureate” backed by Gove is “remarkably similar” to the IB. More than that, the new A-Bacc is simply cannibalizing the Diploma. In addition to the traditional 3 A Levels, this new qualification just tags on an Extended Essay substitute, requires a CAS-like series of projects and includes a poor TOK imitation. What no other “baccalaureate” is offering, however, is the programmatic cohesion of the IB.
The various components of the IB are united in their focus on developing a consistent set of learning skills and dispositions codified in the IB’s Learner Profile. The IB is a coherent vision of what education is about, not a checklist of separate exams.
In addition to providing coherent breadth, Cartwright shows that the evidence suggests learning in the IB gives as much depth as in A-Levels. The research from the Department of Education shows that there is no disadvantage in terms of preparation for degree courses for students studying a broader range, and in some cases this is an advantage.
The article quotes an undergraduate as arguing that the educational system shouldn’t be ‘forcing [students] to continue with things they may hate’. It is a particularly English approach to education that at 16 students are expected to limit themselves in terms of what they learn. The rest of the world’s educational systems expect their 18 year old school-leavers to be literate, numerate, able to engage linguistically with other cultures and also familiar with the scientific underpinnings of the modern world. For subjects students don’t take on to A Level, do we really believe that GCSE can be the minimal benchmarks which our young people should be striving to reach?
The IB has offered a consistent vision for 40 years, it has experienced no grade inflation and its curriculum and assessment is driven by educational professionals, not ministers keeping an eye on the next election.