Emmett McGroarty could not be more wrong in his representation of the International Baccalaureate in the United States [Emmett McGroarty’s opinion post “International Baccalaureate Undermines U.S. Founding Principles”].
The IB is a success story in primary and secondary education in the United States and across the globe. What started as a passionate commitment by international private school educators in post-war Europe has now grown to 3,264 schools in 141 countries. These educators set out to create an international curriculum that would not only provide children with lifelong learning skills and the habits of mind needed to become productive adults, they also sought to attempt to prevent future devastation on the scale of that war by teaching children about others: other cultures, religions, and societies.
What has caused this growth? The quality of the education we offer. Our inquiry-based programs challenge students to reflect critically, to develop research skills, and to learn how to learn. In the process, schools are revitalized and teachers are reinvigorated. Just stop by and visit any IB school and you will immediately notice the positive impact it has on the learning environment of a school.
Our assessment is not standardized. In our high school program, the Diploma Program, students are assessed on the extent to which they have mastered advanced academic skills in analyzing and presenting information: evaluating and constructing arguments and solving problems creatively. Our quality of assessment is recognized by many, including through our selection as a measurement for the “America’s Best High Schools” rankings produced by this very publication, US News & World Report.
And there is a growing body of research that provides strong evidence of our programs’ effectiveness. In April, a research report released by SRI International found that 64 percent of IB Diploma Program students in the United States enrolled in selective or highly selective universities, with 81 percent completing their degree within six years, compared to the national average of 57 percent. That same month, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) found that IB Diploma Program graduates were more likely to be enrolled in one of the top 20 universities in the United Kingdom, compared to students with other qualifications, including the venerable A-Levels.
The world is changing and becoming more global. For the United States to remain competitive, it needs to make high-quality, inquiry-based, international education available to students throughout the country. Parents, schools, and administrators across the United States and around the world recognize this and have opted to offer our programs in their communities in order to have a chance to compete and succeed in a globalized world.