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IB prejudice

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by David Getling, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    I very recently received this comment from a headteacher: IB maths is a bit of a joke. Needless to say, I would beg to differ. It's a bit worrying when someone in charge of a school displays such ignorance. I wonder how common such attitudes are.
  2. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    I very recently received this comment from a headteacher: IB maths is a bit of a joke. Needless to say, I would beg to differ. It's a bit worrying when someone in charge of a school displays such ignorance. I wonder how common such attitudes are.
  3. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    I'm getting the opposite message... IB is the panacea for all evils and A-levels are a joke. A bit dispiriting for us schools without the IB...
  4. Did he give any reasons..or was it just a glib comment?
  5. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Just a glib comment. I've taught both A-level and IB, so although many may not agree with my opinion on which is better (I'd say that at HL, especially with the options offered, it's IB), at least I have a basis for comparison.
  6. David, your Headmaster is a bit of a joke. If he is mathematically qualified, perhaps having done A-level maths a few years ago, and has looked at any IB maths papers over the last 10 years, he would realise how few questions he could actually do. If he is not mathematically qualified then his views are of little value.
  7. Chuck this in front of his A level Students and sit back and watch them 'enjoy' their maths over the normal spoon fed edexcel A level <strike>algorithms</strike> Maths
    IB is only a joke to those hiding behind the weakness of the <strike>Ebunk</strike> Ebac as we in th UK are scared to go head to head with a qualification that levels the world.
    Its like finding out that England are actually more sh****t than Bhutans national football teams reserves. We may aswell just admit we are a joke (Which I think Gove lmost did the other day) and embrace the International version, start from the bottom and work upwards with a postive approach.

  8. Adopting an international approach is simply not what we do here, the UK knows best. Off at a tangent but I think it illustrates the point, a friend of mine works in the rail industry and there is currently a plan afoot to develop a brand new high speed train, just for the UK, that will cost about twice what 'off the peg' solutions would cost.

    I reality, I think it matters little what Gove et al decide, the rot set in years ago and it's more of a societal thing now, 'all must have prizes' is firmly embedded.
  9. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    It's never that simple.
    To take your example, most developed nations have "simple" rail networks; not least because most of the old networks were bombed to oblivion during the second world war.
    Ours wasn't. So we have the joy of a "network" that, in some places, follows lines set down by Stephenson, in other places is band new and in one or two places is only available when the tide is out.
    "Off the peg" trains designed for other rail networks simpy wouldn't do the job here - unless we replaced an awful lot of track and, more to the point, bulldozed down thousands of homes that stand in the way of the nice, mostly straight tracks those trains need.
    (In the past off the peg trains have been bought. Most ended up in museums having never been used.)
  10. Au contraire.

    The Pendolino trains bought for the West Coast Main Line required only a minimum of tinkering of a standard line of trains that are in service in Europe. The new IEP trains that are being pushed in certain quarters are to replace the HST units that are pretty basic technology and are now over 30 years old.

    What started out as a straightforward HST replacement transformed into an all singing, all dancing wonder train for everything from the Great Western Main Line to outer suburban trains, typical project creep that happens all too often with anything connected with the government.

    For years we developed our own freight diesels when in reality much more powerful and reliable designs were available from the US.

    Your statement that off the peg trains have ended up in museums having never been used is totally untrue.

    In relation to the original post, we will never adopt any international exam because it would show how far behind we have slipped as a country.
  11. I am currently a maths teacher and I also studied IB maths whilst I was at college. I do think that HL IB maths is quite comparable to AS/A2 maths.

    I grew up i a working class family, went to a comp school and went on to a 6th form college to study the IB. I didn't go to a private school/college and I didn't have to pay for any of my education (bar uni of course). I wouldn't say in my experience that the IB was sold to me as being elite or exclusive, just as another option to consider after my GCSE's and just as valid as A levels. In fact I feel that the IB course stucture helped me to be more prepared for independent study when it came to university than some of my friends following the A level route based on our shared experiences.

    Thats just my opinion based on my own experiences.

  12. mevdog1971

    mevdog1971 New commenter

    I believe these are wise words.
    One comment I have about the Mathematics IGCSE - both papers allow the use of calculators. This seems somewhat at odds with the subtext that IGCSE is really an O level. I'm not sure it really is harder, it just has a few more topics in the syllabus.
  13. Hi Sarah,
    I also grew up in a working class family, failed my 11+ & went to a secondary modern school. I gained success through a sixth form college & at one stage was a Head of Maths in a sixth form college.
    Glad to see the IB wasn't 'sold' to you as elite and glad you did well by it. Did you do just the 'normal level' maths in the IB?
    Historically the IB was an 'odd' qualification undertaken in very few schools. The only reason it is on the agenda at ANY school now is due to the push in the private sector; back in 2004 I looked very closely at the IB to see if we should do it at the college I taught in. Luckily people in power at the college went with my decision.
  14. Quote: ' I'm not sure it really is harder, it just has a few more topics in the syllabus.'
    It isn't 'harder'. It contains calculus in the syllabus (old word!), but much maths education research in the 1980's indicated that calculus was inappropriate for a pre-17 maths course as kids just 'learnt' differentiation by rote. They know how to do it but haven't a clue why; having talked to many IGCSE candidates that appears to be true still.
  15. Quote: 'As for the numbers taking the exam. what does that have to do with its difficulty?'
    I said validity. So how many? I know the answer is tiny!!!!
  16. Quote: 'IB HL Maths it not necessarily harder than double Maths Alevels... synoptic papers tend to add some challenge.'
    Quote: 'IB HL maths lies somewhere between A Level maths and Further Maths in terms of difficulty and depth of material covered.'
    All this talk about hard this & easier that is nonsense. If you REALLY want to 'extend' a pupil who is very gifted in mathematics you have a solution via OCR MEI maths A-level units which allows very able mathematicians to have the ability to 'build' 3 and a half A-levels in mathematics (if they want to) through a highly flexible scheme. Many excellent schools in both the state & private sector already do this and every year many pupils get more A-level UCAS points in just maths, through this, than the majority of IB candidates get in total. Also on the exclusive-guide-to-excluding-plebs-by-pretending-my-exam-is-better-than-your-exam-scale makes IB look like the old CSE mode 3 standard.
    IB is not modular & all the evidence suggests that modular courses are flexible and can be designed to cater for a large section of pupils rather than just a one-size-fits-all approach.
    Nuff said?
  17. bbibbler

    bbibbler New commenter

    I have taught Both IB and A level maths/futher maths.

    I used to think that IB HL was somewhere between Alevel maths and futher maths, it is now equivilent or above Futher Maths.

    The IB deploma must contain courses from 6 different sections, and aditionally it contains EE,CAS and TOK.

    The main reason I prefer IB is that it is free from the meddling and dumbing down that the Brittish goverment has been forced to resort to, to show that standards are improving.

  18. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Have you actually taught the IB? You still haven't answered this question.
    The IB is a complete system. Your comment about the SMT listening to you regarding the IB obviously implies that they were also not au fait with what the IB represented. It is NOT a system for every school as it is aimed at all rounders and not specialists in arts or science. If you cannot handle A Level maths then you will fail the IB. If you cannot be competent in a foreign language beyond GCSE then you will fail the IB. Similarly in a science.
    In addition you have to have an element of involvement in the local community as a service component. And a creative and action component to your time in the IB. Then you also have 4000 word essay to do on any subject of your choice and a Theory of Knowledge component that A Level cannot even begin to reach. Oh and lets not forget the World Literature essay.
    With regards to the maths a student can do both Maths HL and Further Maths ( which will now become a HL shortly ). The Extended Essay allows an able mathematician to really go deeply into a subject and the new Maths HL and SL coursework is an independent investigation into a topic of the students choice.
    As for a modular system, what does it do but prop up poor mathematicians who learn a topic piecewise, regurgitate it in a short exam and then forget about it before the next topic? Real exams expect you to learn everything.

    ian60 likes this.
  19. I agree that Further Maths and the extended essay do give pupils the opportunity to delve further into Maths than the normal A level would, however, both are advertised as an 'add-on' and in my experience, not given the timetable allocation they deserve or require.
    Further Maths is judged by many as 'just another A level' when in reality by taking it on pupils are required to tackle material much more challenging than that in your average A level. Why is it that Mathematicians should need to explore more creative ways of ensuring that their pupils leave for a university Maths degree with a slightly more solid grasp of the fundamentals of the subject than other subjects?
  20. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Because maths is a superior subject, and order to be worthy of it, you must prove yourself better than the common horde who gather to study the other lesser subjects...

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