Early IB

The rigorous International Baccalaureate program, originally designed for college-bound high school students, is moving into grade schools, reports the Washington Post.

The program seeks to mold students, from preschool age on, into “transdisciplinary” and bilingual scholars who can deliver a major academic project by fifth grade and then move into deeper studies in secondary schools and beyond. (IB middle schools also exist.) Critics wonder whether it’s all a bit much for a student demographic that still receives scratch-and-sniff stickers on written work.

IB stresses asking big-picture questions; students also tend to do well on standardized state exams, the Post reports. Some high-poverty schools are using IB programs to attract middle-class students.

About Joanne


  1. Teachers at IB elementary schools will assign major academic projects; they will not teach children how to do major academic projects. The parents will discover how to teach their children how to do major academic projects at home.

  2. wayne martin says:

    > The parents will discover how to teach their children how to
    > do major academic projects at home.

    Isn’t that home schooling, then?

  3. I think you might be a little misleading in your opening statement. While the IB program has a diploma course, the International Baccalaureat Organization has developed programs for both the middle and primary years. It is not, as you say, moving a program designed for high schoolers into grade schools.

    We have a middle years IB program at our school, and I have to say that we do teach the kids how to complete their projects. One of the 5 areas of interaction key to the IB philosophy is called Approaches to Learning. It is using this approach that kids are taught how to do things like research, think and write critically, and reflect and self-edit. It’s a conscious analysis of how to go about the task and not just a list of steps to follow.

    Their website is http://www.ibo.org. Check it out. It’s a decent program.

  4. ‘”It looks good on your primary records…” said Asia Winkler, 10, a Randolph fifth-grader.’

    I wonder what kind of twisted parental mind would convince a child to be concerned about how his “primary records” look.

  5. I don’t think, Boo, that it is a parent who is exaggerating about the “value” of IB PYP. IB Teachers, IB administrators and IB salespeople are the more likely suspects. Still, if it somehow draws middle class parents to inner city schools, or keeps them there, a little smoke and mirrors can be excused.

  6. Indigo Warrior says:

    It’s about bloody time that someone did something for young smart kids, rather than proclaiming that brains don’t exist until high school or college age!