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To IB teachers really: if you accept that HL maths is the hardest option...

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by cyolba, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. I would say that SL (the last time I taught it, some time this millenium) was about equivalent to Further Maths A-level (ie: 1.5 times as difficult as A2 Maths). But, tey have to be equally good at other subjects. I think only abot 10% of kids in this country currently studying A-levels would be able to cope with IB.
    Much of the problem lies with a lack of rigour lower down, ths ensuring that they are unprepared for the work levels or sophistication of IB. Plus, of course, they are up against far superior education systems.
    cyolba, bigging up the UK :)
  2. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    I think it is one of the hardest, with Physics and Chemistry making a guest appearance.
    In terms of difficulty, I would put them in this order:
    HL: Bloody difficult
    FM: Annoying but not quite difficult, although it has just gone through a reincarnation, so the jury is out.
    SL: Difficult
    Studies: Fairly straightforward.
    What the students need to realise is tha SL is a subset of HL, so you still have to pretty good to be able to cope. Studies should be the default option for most students.
    The way we ( as in me ) put it to the pre-IB crowd is that if you wish to study engineering, maths, physics or economics at Uni, go for HL.
    Anything else Studies.
    SL is only for those that are going to specific universities or countries that require it.
  3. ian60

    ian60 New commenter

    Thanks for the responses, they pretty much agree with the way I feel.
    Studies does seem to get a bad press and is seen as the 'thickies' course, which seems a shame to me on a couple of levels;
    a) Pupils are labelled as failures by their peers if they select it
    b) Pupils opt for SL and have a miserable time trying to keep up.
    There is also a lot of parental pressure involved as well in our school, we have far too many parents trying to push their sons/daughters into HL when there is absolutely no need. It's as if it is some sort of status symbol to brag about.
    I agree that Studies ought to be the default option for most IB kids.
    What do other schools do to channel kids into the correct level?
  4. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    We are very lucky in many respects in that we have a very long waiting list, so we only accept a couple of kids into the IB year and within a couple of years we may stop accepting kids into the IB or Pre-IB year. This means that I can design the pre-IB curriculum in the manner of the IB so that although all the sets do a core syllabus, in the top two sets it is at a HL, the next two at SL and the bottom two at Studies level.
    We then specify that if the students wish to take a particular level, then they have to have been operating at that level for a period of time and the attainment must be maintained.
    We always have a few malcontents, but generally it works quite well.
  5. ian60

    ian60 New commenter

    That makes a lot of sense Karvol.
    Whilst I appreciate my school's 'all-inclusive' approach, if that's how it should be described, I do not think that allowing a student to follow the course they want is de facto in their best interests.
    Maybe I'll think differently in a few years time when my own daughters approach that age.
  6. At my school, there is a belief that Studies is not accepted by some universities, mainly in US. I have no idea if this is actually correct as there are many myths guiding policy here. Hence our school has SL as the default option.
    I do think SL is difficult, but this may be because students tend to think it must be easy-ish as it is only a standard course, and so don't really give it the time/effort it deserves until too late.
    Very few students here do HL, the school is effective in blocking most students, rightly or wrongly from doing it.

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