In Defense of International Baccalaureate

A spokesperson for the program sets the record straight.

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There have been a lot of comments about the International Baccalaureate program on this blog. I thought it would be best to get someone at IB's New York office to set the record straight. One document that office recommends to clarify some of the misconceptions regarding the IB programs is available at http://www.ibo.org (.pdf)).

In addition, Elizabeth Brock, head of research, development, and communications for IB North America, says:

The IB is committed to providing rigorous, international education to students from around the world. In the United States, the IB has received much support from governments and policymakers, including the U.S. Department of Education and local school districts, to increase student achievement and to turn around low-performing schools. The core of our curriculum provides students with critical thinking skills, second-language skills, and an understanding of other cultures in order to prepare them for success in a global economy. We recommend that individuals visit their local IB schools to see the curriculum in action and to speak to students and teachers about the impact of the curriculum on their development and on the school as a whole.

Some facts about the IB: The IB is almost entirely supported by school fees. A small amount (currently about 1 percent of our annual budget) is received through donations for development projects. In developing our curriculum and assessments, we consult with international educators around the world in order to provide all of our students, in all of our countries, with an equal assessment of their work. The IB model is flexible, allowing schools to make many decisions about program implementation locally. The IB does not own or manage any schools. The IB provides curriculum and a process for authorization, assessment, and evaluation. The IB diploma is recognized in more than 2,000 universities in 74 countries. Over 900 universities in the U.S. alone recognize the IB diploma. (This number represents an increase from approximately 275 in 1995.) The IB works proactively with colleges and universities to gain broader recognition for the IB diploma. Several states, such as Texas, Colorado, Georgia, and Florida, have special recognition of the IB diploma that grants IB diploma students a minimum number of credit hours at any of the state universities.

The bottom line: U.S. News , working with our partner School Evaluation Services, a K-12 education data research business run by Standard & Poor's, remains committed to our goal of incorporating International Baccalaureate data into our next edition of the U.S. News America's Best High Schools rankings. We look forward to making a more definitive announcement about our use of the IB in our Best High Schools ranking methodology in the near future.