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IB lifted exam marking guides from Wikipedia

News | Published in TES Newspaper on 8 October, 2010 | By: William Stewart

International Baccalaureate pledges review as plagiarisation revelation deals blow to credibility

The credibility of the International Baccalaureate (IB) was badly undermined this week as it emerged that it has plagiarised large chunks of its marking guides from Wikipedia.

One of the confidential mark schemes, which provide examiners with model answers to help them grade papers, was for a history paper sat by around 20,000 candidates worldwide this May.

An IB examiner who spoke to The TES said they were “shocked” to discover there were “serious examples of academic dishonesty”, throughout the document with guides for 14 of the 24 questions containing large sections copied wholesale from unattributed websites, including Wikipedia.

The TES has learned that the mark scheme is one of at least three being urgently investigated by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) over plagiarism allegations as part of a “wide review” into the issue.

The news follows last month’s public naming and shaming of Jeffrey Beard, IBO director general, for plagiarising the work of another educationalist in a speech without acknowledging his source.

This week the IBO admitted that using Wikipedia, an online encyclopaedia that anyone can contribute to, was not “acceptable practice”.

Wiki contributions “cannot be guaranteed because the sources are uncited”, an IBO spokeswoman said.

She said a pupil who copied their exam answers or coursework from Wikipedia would be found guilty of malpractice and would not receive a grade.

The examiner who uncovered the marking guide plagiarism said they were “embarrassed” for the IBO.

“It will be difficult for me to insist that my students practice academic honesty when the very organisation which creates examinations and then assesses them according to often uncited materials does not follow these same guidelines,” they said.

Another teacher who runs training workshops for the IBO said they were “livid” and “stunned” and that the whole IB programme had been put at risk.

Increasing numbers of schools in England have been turning to the IB as an alternative to A levels, with Michael Gove, education secretary, last month declaring himself an admirer of the qualification.

The American history paper with the most examples of plagiarism in its marking scheme was for the IB high level diploma.

It appears the examiners lifted uncited material, often copyrighted, from a variety of internet sources that also included websites like

One guide to an answer took an academic’s complete answer to a related but far from identical question straight from a magazine interview, without any acknowledgement of its source.

Geoff Lucas, secretary of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, which has more than ten per cent of its member schools using the IB said: “One has to ask what the quality assurance system within the IBO is, to allow this to happen.”

Mary Bousted, Association of Teachers and Lecturers general secretary, said it was an example of the risks schools could face if they moved away from England’s well regulated exams system.

Jacqueline Harris, IBO assessment director said: “The IB treats all aspects of academic honesty very seriously. We have recently appointed a full-time manager with sole responsibility to review and promote academic honesty in all aspects of IB assessment. The academic honesty manager will be working with the whole IB community to this end.”

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Comment (28)

  • IBelievers are stunned and shocked. However, those of us who have opposed IB's agenda and educational "scheme" are not the least bit surprised. In fact, we are elated that IB's phony intellectual shenanigans have finally been exposed for what they are. IB is the most expensive educational scam on the market and deserves to be put out of business.

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    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    9 October, 2010


  • I like Mary Boustead's comment. This is the same well regulated exam system that is criticised in the media every year for incompetence and falling standards. As for truthaboutib, I'd suggest that almost anything that they oppose is worthy of support.

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    9 October, 2010


  • Only someone who has never learnt and/or taught in the IB system and who has a personal agenda against the IB could make comments like TruthAboutIB. The system is not perfect, it is human; but it is the best system I've seen and I`m sure I´ve seen more than TruthAib.

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    Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    10 October, 2010


  • As a maths teacher, I find IB's offerings superior to A-Level. The choice of Studies, Standard Level and Higher Level caters for a wide range of abilities, and the options offered for Higher Level make those offered at A-Level look a bit meager.

    So, as long as IB provide good quality work for my students, I'm not desperately worried about their shenanigans.

    However, since we're talking about plagiarism, I have to mention coursework. In theory it's a nice idea, but they should ditch it. To see what I mean, do a search on IB and Stellar Numbers. You will find a thriving industry devoted to doing students' coursework for them. In some cases, so as not to arouse suspicion, one can even specify the level of competence one wants the work done to.

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    10 October, 2010

    David Getling

  • Wiki contributions “cannot be guaranteed because the sources are uncited”, an IBO spokeswoman said.

    This is nonsense - wikipedia (there are countless other wikis) articles should have cited sources. I ask students not to cite wikipedia itself but to use it as a place to find sources that they can use. Wikipedia may be unreliable, but it can also be more up to date, unbiased and accessible than other sources.

    'England’s well regulated exams system' is not beyond criticism. Grade inflation is a known issue, and won't go away so long as exam boards compete for trade from schools who are judged on their pass rates.

    TruthAboutIB is solely concerned with discrediting the IB, to the exclusion of any other evidence or viewpoints. Wikipedia itself has banned her contributions because of their unrelenting bias. As for her criticisms, suffice to say that isolated incidents of malpractice is hardly proof of corporate fraud.

    I like the IB, but I do wish it would be more open. It behaves as if it has something to hide - publishing only selected figures about its accounts and exams. It has imposed strong restrictions on its copyrighted materials and yet has itself copied material (until recently, the Chemistry Data Booklet was quite blatant). I don't think it has anything to be ashamed of, but its secrecy can give the opposite impression.

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    10 October, 2010


  • David Getling, what about the coursework offered at PYP and MYP level. remember IB is not just the DP, it's the whole curriculum. At elementary and middle school level there is no external assessment. The PoI is the be-all and end-all so coursework is unavoidable - and vital.

    Unfortunately, third party options will always thrive. I sleuthed even PYP-level "model answers" on websites for children to pass off as their own. I think the main concern here is not the quality of the curriculum - which like all curricula is as good and as poor as the people delivering it make it to be. Rather, it's the woeful example the IBO leadership is setting students in whom we are trying to cultivate high standards of academic honesty. Jeffrey Beard's shamefully blatant lifting of whole unattributed chunks of Sir Ken Robinson's recent TED talk was embarrassing. But how many more have gone undetected?

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    10 October, 2010


  • Ewen!

    Well, well, well. The IB teacher from Wales weighs in on how unbiased Wikipedia is. Hysterical! The actions of Ewen and his gaggle of pro-IB Wikipedia guard-dogs of all that is IB in Wikipedia are proof positive of IB and Wikipedia's left-wing bias. Ewen and about five or six other Wikipedia "editors" worked in lockstep to block any legitimate edit I attempted to make to the article on the DP. Legitimate cites were deleted with authoritarian dismissal if any of my edits demonstrated ANYTHING in the least bit negative about their almighty IB. Then they would all gossip with each other on their Wiki pages and complain about that horrible ONY and run to their Wiki mommies to have me banned. It's all documented, all you have to do is read the archived discussions on the IBDP article.

    rgh1066 asks a great question - "But how many more have gone undetected?" Does anyone else remember the scandal in Greece last year? I seem to recall one Greek paper calling IB a "racket".

    Who was the "source" in Geneva, hmmm? Did we ever hear an announcement that an IB staffer in Geneva was fired for the leak? No, we didn't. In fact, if you Google "Greek IB exam scandal", you will find the only other source referencing the scandal besides the Greek papers is Truth About IB. I guarantee you the reference is NOT in the Wikipedia article!

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    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    10 October, 2010


  • TruthAboutIB/ObserverNY/Lisa!
    It's tedious and against your interests to bring up what happened on wikipedia. Anyone interested can read about it there.
    As for the 'Greek IB exam scandal', I think you'll find that the IB is not alone in suffering from the dishonesty of individuals on its staff. Similar cases have affected many exam boards, unfortunately. Cherry-picking stories that show the IB in a bad light is not going to prove anything.

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    10 October, 2010


  • Tedious, Ewen? Trying to obfuscate the fact that YOU were the one to bring up my "experience" editing Wikipedia on this site first? How incredibly disingenuous of you. And for someone who had such hissy fits about "outing" people on Wikipedia, how incredibly foul of you to use my first name when I chose not to use it here. Shall I publish your last name for all to read? I wouldn't do that because I have principles, unlike those who will sell their soul (if they have one) to defend IB.

    How amusing that you would call my example of the Greek IB exam scandal "cherry-picking". It was news, news which you and your IB cronies refused to allow to be submitted to Wikipedia. I suppose it was also "cherry-picking" when I sought to include information about IB recycling exams from a prior year: (article requires subscription)

    History repeats itself as pupils sit exam paper last set in 2005
    Alexandra Blair, Education Correspondent
    The TimesUpdated: 30 March 2010Education
    ...the costs of introducing the IB.

    Anyone else see a decided pattern here? It's not against my interests to share the truth about IB. I am not employed to teach IB, nor am I employed to "monitor" Wikipedia. I am a NY Mom whose local HS has been ruined by IB and whose school taxes are through the roof. My no-ads website makes no money, nor am I employed by The College Board to discredit IB. IB is doing a fine job of that all by itself.

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    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    10 October, 2010


  • I'm not continuing this bickering. You won't stop, so I will. I guess you'll claim that this is because I can't argue against your superior case, but frankly nobody cares. Bye

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    10 October, 2010


  • Ding! Ding! Ding!

    And it's a TKO (not a TOK) for Truth About IB against the IB teacher in only the 2nd round!

    People DO care. They care about the truth and they care about being bilked out of scads of money and having their child's education corrupted by an intellectually dishonest educational company.

    "Not racist, not violent, just no longer silent"

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    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    10 October, 2010


  • wait and see...

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    10 October, 2010


  • The major problem with the IB is that it preens itself to be something special, something other than a huge money-making machine.

    It isn't special - the fact that TOK and CAS are compulsory MAKE having the IB Diploma worthwhile but there's nothing to stop A level students doing community work, for example.

    Also doing community work because you want to rather than because you have to, IMHO, is more honest.

    Let's look at some examples in the IB and see what happens when we peer beneath the gloss.

    Let's take World Schools. The IB site boasts about how long it takes to be a World school. They say 2-3 years.

    This is just a lie.

    In fact that's the average. Schools have been inspected after just 4 months.
    Now let’s look at the ethics and honesty of IB. Their key ideas include 'respecting others'.

    One of the schools they authorised to be a World School was, at the same time, being investigated for teaching their kids that Jews descend from apes - go on, google it and you'll see what I say is true. And this is a World school that embodies IB principles?

    Now this stuff about 'no grade inflation'.

    Pupils have more resources than 10 years ago. Better teachers. More practice. And yet grades haven't risen.

    How can that be - are the exams getting harder? (Which would be a good thing.) Compare past papers. No, they stay the same level. Therefore the only conclusion is that NEW World Schools have a high fail rate, as their teachers simply are not up to it. Why is IB accepting such schools?

    Money, money, money.

    But wait! Don't IB teachers go and get trained?

    Yes they go on 1-2 day courses at about £600 a time and they then get a certificate saying they have been on such a course!

    So what about this whole idea of transferability? You do IB in Newcastle and then can change schools and simply pick up where you left off at a school in Devon.

    Er, no. This assumes exactly the same options are available - which usually they are not.

    The IB is very expensive - which immediately creates a 'haves' and 'have-nots'.

    Its heavy emphasis on coursework (IA and external Assessment means it is wide open for (rich) pupils to buy the services of others to do the work.
    It pretends there is no cheating possible.

    Look at all the holiday courses run by IB Examiners where they 'help' you with your Internal assessments.

    IB has many good points - but it is not what it seems. It is dishonest, divisive and ultimately a charade.

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    10 October, 2010


  • Also...

    Exam questions for IB are much easier to spot. Don't believe me?

    "A report by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), the Government’s examinations watchdog, casts doubt on claims that the IB is necessarily more rigorous and wideranging than the A level. It says that the structure offers more scope for students to question-spot, enabling them to follow a narrower course of study than claimed."


    (No subscription)

    You think IB are super competent?

    "More than 27,000 pupils sat a two-year-old history paper for their International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma last week.

    The error was discovered after pupils left the examination, saying that they had seen the paper before. The board confirmed in a note of apology to schools that a “grave mistake” had been made.

    In December Tony Blair said 100 state schools would each receive £26,000 to cover the costs of introducing the IB"


    (No subscription needed)

    The last sentence is key:

    £26,000 to cover the costs of introducing the IB and that was in 2005.

    Who pays for this - taxpayers!

    Wouldn't the money be better spent on giving schools more resources, perhaps an extra teacher to run extra classes?

    Heard about this school:

    "The infants-to-teens King Fahd Academy narrowly escaped closure last year after education officials discovered teachers were calling for a holy war against Christendom at school assemblies and the children spent more time in indoctrination than on the three Rs. Though reading, writing and arithmetic were well behind the standard at German state schools, hardline Islamists from around Germany were moving their families to Bonn to enrol children at the school.""

    Guess what!

    At the same time as this was going on the IB authorised it as a world school!

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    10 October, 2010


  • Great posts, NewSociologyTeacher! Does this mean that someone other than me cares?

    IB celebrated its 40th birthday with a grand lovefest featuring the Aga Khan. The Aga Khan (whose net worth is said to be in excess of $6 Billion USD) is opening a whole slew of IB schools in the mideast. At the same time (2008), IB authorized two Islamic madrassas which were both in the news for anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, anti-American teachings. One is the King Fah'd Academy in London (the one teaching about descendants of pigs and apes) and the Islamic Saudi Academy in Virginia, USA, also known as "Terror High" for its former Valedictorian who was arrested for plotting to assassinate President Bush. One of TAIB's London watchdogs actually pressed Jeffrey Beard " the plagiarist" on the issue as to why IB would authorize such a controversial school. Beard's reply?

    "They met and continue to meet all our standards".

    IB's "standards" amount to making sure the checks are good. There is absolutely no evidence of a single school ever being denied IB authorization, as long as the checks have cleared.

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    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    10 October, 2010


  • I have been advised by my UK IB watchdog that my previous post may have been misinterpreted due to a language barrier. The above should read:

    IB's "standards" amount to making sure the cheques are good. There is absolutely no evidence of a single school ever being denied IB authorization, as long as the cheques have cleared.

    What readers may want to consider is this "position paper" I just came across from IBO. When we take into consideration that IB is promoting the UN's "values" within the frameworks of its programmes, it is particularly unsettling to realize that IB considers itself "holistic education".

    *Holistic education nurtures the broad development of the students and focuses on their intellectual, emotional, social, physical, creative or intuitive, aesthetic and spiritual potentials.

    In its own words, IB calls holistic education "a radical endeavour".

    Now this New Age, touchie feelie education may appeal to the very Left among us, but for those of us who happen to like facts and knowledge-based learning (described as "confining"), this sounds a lot more like BS than a highly credentialed academic programme. And I dare say, what business does IB have meddling with the "spiritual potential" of children in State or public schools?

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    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    10 October, 2010


  • Add to all this Jeff Beard's latest explanation for his plagiarising - it was an 'oversight' see
    I had no idea that the IB had approved schools that promote racist views and am horrified to read this. It would seem if they've got the money they meet the criteria to be an IB world school and that's all it takes. And...ahem...doesn't the learner profile include 'principled'?

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    10 October, 2010


  • OB10 -

    Personally, I found the "working from notecards" excuse, quite a giggle. Perhaps IBO should invest in teleprompters for Mr. Beard so he can be a "great orator" like Barack Obama. ;-)

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    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    10 October, 2010


  • This most recent expose adds to my disillusionment of the IB. Three students who scored 7's on both papers 1 and 2 in Business, were downgraded to 4's in their Internal Assessments. This in a school where historically the Internal Assessment outperforms exam results. Far from thinking as I once did that the IB is a possible solution to declining education standards, IB seems to have become part of the problem

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    11 October, 2010


  • isn't it interesting that all the stories about the IB above come with sources cited, an example of good practise. Jeff Beard take note,!

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    11 October, 2010


  • TruthAboutIB:

    I am an IB teacher and have been for 15 years. Intermittently I have also worked with the British, Spanish, Danish and Texan educational system. I have travelled and worked in many places, and have had the pleasure of experiencing some truly wonderful cultures and people. I am going to make a bold assumption, that you have not. My education comes through experience and through learning. Experience really is a wonderful way to learn and educate yourself and to be less ignorant, and also allows one to make informed and logical comments, not purely based on hearsay.

    You are correct in your observation with regards to UN "values" being promoted in the IB. Why you are so concerned that we, as educators, would want to promote the ideals of universal education, equal rights for woman, a reduction in child mortality, environmental sustainability and the eradication of diseases throughout the world, really does elude me. Is it really that bad to be promoting these ideas?

    The UN has some truly wonderful principles and goals. Some of the accomplishments that they have made are incredible. They have also struggled in many other areas. Do they appear to favour some over others? One could argue that case, yes. Have they let some countries get away with murder (literally), including the United States, while sanctioning others? I believe so, yes, and I inform my students about these. However, we are talking about an organization that is comprised of 200 countries; it can't be easy!

    Did the US support dictatorships across the world during the Cold War? Did they use the money that they made selling weapons to Iran in the 1980s to support these dictatorships? Yes on both counts. Did the US government sell weapons to the Muhajideen (led by Osama bin Laden) in the 1980s? Yes they did. Should they have done those things? Were they mistakes? Should I get on my high horse and write a poorly balanced article/website called theTruthAboutTheUS? Maybe.

    I would hope that if I did embark upon a book or website about the US, I would also acknowledge all of the good the nation has done.

    My point here is that your views and ideas are somewhat short-sighted. You are seeing the UN as this ogre-type of figure, yet you are not looking at the whole picture (something, by the way, we teach our students to do). This is a skill, but one I believe you could master.

    Like the UN and the US, does the IB make mistakes and not always "get it right"? Absolutely. Unfortunately, they, like me, are not as perfect as you seem to be, and we do make errors. The current ones are big ones, and I don't think that you will find many IB History teachers who will argue that with you (so no potential Knock Outs for you). However, we will continue to strive for excellence (something the major Universities across the world, including the US recognize, and one of the reasons that they actively seek IB Graduates).

    You very naively and with a with a large pinch of ignorance seem to attempt to turn this into a Left vs. Right argument. To enlighten you; IB is neither. I have students who are staunch Republicans/Conservatives and those who are Democrats/Socialist, and all views opinions are welcome and even encouraged. This is what makes your typical IB student so much more open-minded, as opposed to the student who would graduate from the philosophical school of "thought" of the TruthaboutIB, or other equally closed-minded forums. We encourage difference, and we believe that if we understand more about these very differences, we can become more tolerant and accepting of others; but in the process, never sacrificing our own values and beliefs.

    Like Ewen before me, I too will not embark upon a bickering match with you; so please feel free to chalk up another "victory". It says much about who you are and what you stand for and the misinformation that you spread, when you consider it a "Round Two" victory.

    My advice to you would be to use the intelligence that you have (and I truly believe you are indeed intelligent, just slightly misguided and ignorant (and maybe even bitter) of the world), and use it for some good. Take the large chip off of your shoulder and make a salad and make a positive contribution to the world. You can do, I believe in you!

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    5 November, 2010


  • @ David Getling (maths teacher)

    Dear sir,

    What about A-Level FURTHER Mathematics? How does that compare to IB Higher Level Mathematics?

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    19 January, 2011


  • Of course Michael Gove likes it, he's an elitist snob with little understanding of education or educational inclusion.

    The IB is flawed and does not offer a model of education that is viable for anyone other than a small, if not tiny elite.

    Firstly, it has no role in an inclusive school. It offers no curriculum for students other than the the very brightest. There is virtually zero differentiation in the structure of the Diploma program itself. With other qualifications this is not a problem as schools can offer alternatives or a mixture of qualifications to match the learners profile or needs.

    The fact that the IB require that schools only follow their program and then fail to provide for the needs of all or even some the potential learners in an institution in utterly reprehensible, especially as it brags about its UN, global learner type agenda.

    Poorer people, those with learning difficulties, non-academic students, non of these humans exist in the perfect shiny IB world. It's so hypocritical it makes me want to barf.

    As for CAS, well so what. People can't be good members of their community without the IB? Given the wealth of IB students it amounts to little more than charity tourism.

    Open question: how often do students fail the Diploma because of not doing the 50 hours?

    From the exam papers I have seen, the IB maintains it's academic standards through partly devious means, rather than the more difficult task of constructingcomplex assessment tasks that actually challenge the capable learners the qualification is supposed to attract.

    There is a use of semantics and wording in questions, especially multiple choice, that make it easy to make the wrong choice.

    Questions that are open ended, yet require specific answers in mark schemes are common. I have also seen misleading diagrams. Factual mistakes occur and opinions are common. This is especially hard on learners approaching the exams from another linguistic background, which is the constituency the IB is supposed to serve.

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    27 May, 2011


  • I attend an IB school in the United States. I would like to ask that you really understand the significant portion of the positive impact the program has on students and weigh it against the negatives that are significant in their own right. I am going keep this short, because I am actually in the process of writing the first page of my EE, revising my World Literature paper, and finishing up a lab for my IB Biology HL1 course.

    I attend a school that gets very little taxpayer funding, so the common argument of wasted government money does not apply in all cases.

    As I write this, I see the person before me has posted about how questions are worded. It stood out to me, and although it is randomly inserted in my comment, I want to address it now. I pity you. If you are upset that our multiple choice questions require you to think, I pity you. They should not be easy. They ask for the best answer, not the only one that applies. If they were to make the questions that obvious, there would be no reason to teach the material other than to memorize names, dates, and places. I believe that many of the individuals involved in this comment thread are very well educated. I also believe there is a serious lack of education concerning the IB Program as it is implemented. Ah. Again to the previous commenting individual. I wish you would attend my school for a few day. What perfect world are you speaking of? You should hear my European History and Comparative Government and Politics teacher speak about our world. She is originally from Italy, lived in Germany and the UK, and now resides in the USA. She has traveled the world. She tells us about how her grandfather was imprisoned and tortured under the rule of Mussolini and is a wealth of knowledge. We had a senior graduate with incredible grades and thousands in scholarships who had learning disabilities. He performed at a fantastic level at our school. If you want to to address the non-academic students, they have the option to not apply to my school. The IB program is not forced upon students in most cases. IB addressed the academic students. Non-academic students are not the victims. As for the less wealthy in the community, our school is a public charter school, with no tuition fee. Not all are hindered by the cost of the IB program. So please, do not argue tautologies when they simply do not exist in this very imperfect world. If you want to talk about he hindrance of those with learning disabilities, why not address the opposite extreme? There are laws and programs in place to protect and to address he needs of those hindered in their own way, where the school moves to fast or does not meet the needs of those people. What about those so gifted that standard educational systems to not meet their needs? They are hindered by the education provided to them. You to not tell parents of children with mental retardation to home school students because they just cannot function in the normal classroom. You do not tell them their child would do better to be with normal children to aid in development. But these are the things told to highly gifted students. The IB program reaches these students. And while it may not be for all, is sure does better for most than the standard education. More on your comment is on its way, oh individual who I will not scroll up to see the name of. What about CAS? People can be part of the community without IB. Just because IB requires it to ensure the students gaining the diploma are well rounded individuals who are physically active, mentally active, and are active in the community, bettering the environment they are in. IB is not doing this to impact the community. It is doing this to impact students and make sure those earning the diploma are motivated and accountable students. IB does construct complex assessment tasks, just like you want. Are you not satisfied? or as Maximus put in in Gladiator, "Are you not entertained?" Misleading diagrams? Yeah... I recall something like that... OH YEAH! Right here. Lemme... Yup. My IB Math Studies SL Paper 1 Practice Exam. Lets see... the angle looks like it is 90 degrees... Lets put up a corner of a paper to see, like my 3rd grade teacher told me to... YUP! Lets just use PiThag. Oh wait... It tells me right here in big bold letters that the diagram is not to scale. That must be so that people actually do the math instead of guess and check. Again. I am sorry I am taught to think. I have many friends from other linguistic backgrounds. I have my friend Carola Hurtz, a German native studying at my school. She does fine. She has had a 5 year visa for a while. Actually, she is going back next year. My friend Raul and his sister Stephanie both are of Ecuadorian heritage and were raised in a Spanish speaking home. They do very well. In fact, Stephanie scored better than I did on our AP English Language Exam last year. I have many other friends from different linguistic backgrounds. Some are better speakers and grammatical analysts of the English language than I am. Factual mistakes are rare. Opinions may be found in some mark schemes, but often if an opinion is a valid answer, many are directly addressed, and sometimes even left to the discretion of the grader. I will now scroll up to address the previous portion of your comment. Elitist snobs... Please reconsider. You are sorely misinformed if you believe we are an elitist community. We are simply as small community which is proud of the commitment to education that it has. We are not elitist. We earn about those in some history courses, and also in TOK. We are not an elitist community. I regret that you have has such a negative introduction to the IB program, and I am sure some of my diction and syntax has only enhanced your negative and condescending predisposition towards the organization. But I am short on time and I am rather ticked at how you represented something that is a fantastic education regiment. While it is hopeful and not at all realistic, I would very much enjoy it if you and the rest of those commenting on this thread would come visit Signature School. We would relish the opportunity to give you another look at IB. Maybe an example of IB that has become a shining star in the education community. Something to play Devil's Advocate to the view you have of the IB Program right now.

    Yeah, this looks like a tree trunk.

    Yeah, it is very unprofessional.

    I am saving all that for the papers I need to go back to.

    One thing I will say about IB that is a bit negative. It is stressful. My school is both IB and AP and I take both tests. I ask off work for two months for studies and testing at the end of the year. My school is sleep deprived and ready to get to summertime. But I love my school. It is the best thing that has happened to me. And I will defend the IB program until it gives me a really great reason not to. And after that, I will forever defend what it stood for and what it taught its students, even if I do not support the organization itself.

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    17 May, 2012


  • Let me preface this by saying I am a graduate of the IB myself. I'd encourage you to read Wade's comment as a young representative of our philosophy (even if it does look like a tree trunk, haha). I graduated with an IB Diploma in 2009. After completing my bachelors in 2012 I'm currently finishing my Masters of Arts in Teaching at Duke University which will be completely payed for by the Durham Teaching Fellowship I received upon acceptance.

    It might appear like I'm bragging, but I assure you that is not the case. In elementary school and much of middle school I struggled with severe learning disabilities. At one point I was placed in a special education classroom. It was only through the devotion of my teachers that I began to excel, and so much of my academic growth and success is the direct result of a series of fantastic IB educators. They are the reason I want to teach, and why I believe every student has unlocked academic potential. Because of their direct influence I graduated early from undergrad with zero debt thanks to the HOPE scholarship and will be doing the same from one of the leading universities in the country. Many of my peers received the same benefits, and its worth noting that we received this education for free at a Title I public school.

    These revelations about plagiarism on these tests are terribly embarrassing. I am glad though that it has been brought to light so that improvements can be made. I would hesitate to write this off as a conspiracy however. I would not be surprised if it could not be linked back to a single perpetrator who got lazy. As others have said, the IBO is composed of human beings.

    However, the exams have never been the important part of the IB curriculum. What is really vital is what happens in the classrooms. The exams are only used to prove that a thorough education has occurred, and to be used to get college credits. What was most valuable to me years later was the quality of instruction I received in the classroom. Though my IB Diploma awarded me roughly a semester in credits it was the quality of that education which best prepared me for a collegiate education. To be honest, I frequently feel that my graduate classes at Duke are not nearly as intellectually or academically challenging as my IB classes.

    The value of an exceptional education is what truly distinguishes IB from AP. I've taken, taught, and observed AP classes, and the truth is that they are largely geared to a very narrow test whose standards are not as high as IB's goals. An AP class will challenge a student, and if they do well on their exam it is more likely to win them college credit. But the gulf between an AP and IB student in a university classroom is often pretty significant. AP students know how to pass a class, but IB students know how to draw meaning from a curriculum and look beyond an exam. I've seen this manifest itself again and again in my undergrad and graduate experience.

    I feel like this is the root of the problem. TheTruthAboutIB has some valid concerns, but they also reflect a lot of the hyperbole and xenophobia of IB's staunchest and most misguided critics. Of course AP seems like the superior option when viewed merely for its testing results. The tests are easier, and the AP program more widely recognized and therefore more likely to award college credit.

    However, TheTruthAboutIB has also voiced some opinions which point towards a deeper problem. Many of our critics fear the IB program because of its global approach and its alignment with the UN (as has already been highlighted in this thread). It's often accused of being a leftist brainwashing machine. It isn't. As several of the teachers and students have revealed, there are students who are conservative and liberal. The IB does require constant questioning and reflection however, and it regularly produces students who are more open-minded.

    The fear and anger this inspires is telling. It is clear that our world and our society is becoming increasingly globalized. Xenophobia is a major hindrance to success in this new world, and it is the source of our greatest conflicts and shortcomings as a species. The ideal curriculum of IB requires students and teachers to question the values of their society, and even their own values, as we seek to understand and respect others. Old world values will not lead to the success of our students, our countries, or our species. IB does not enforce a set moral code, it only encourages its students to become independent thinkers and form their own values as we observe the humanity of our peers. There is plenty of room for conservatives and liberals in the IB, and in this changing world, but there will not be room for dogmatism, close-mindedness, and bigotry.

    In criticizing the apparent corruption of the IB schools, several examples of intolerant or dangerous student bodies were referenced. However, I feel like IB is the solution, rather than a reflection of the problem. In the middle-east the international curriculum will require students to question biggotry, and perhaps lead them more towards moderation. Undoubtedly, close-minded critics will accuse the schools there of pushing a liberal, heathen, global agenda. Though I doubt "terrorist high" truly deserves its name, if there is a deeper problem rooted there, the creation of an IB program may provide the school an opportunity to teach its students how to negotiate effective positive change through diplomacy. Our schools were first created for the children of diplomats of course.

    IB is not perfect. Certainly every school is different as well. Currently in Durham there is an IB school which struggles to produce high scores. The largely black and poor students are striving for excellence however, and I hope in the following years they are able to achieve a level of education which has so often been denied their community.

    These shortcomings with plagiarism in the test and the IBO CEO's speech on creativity are certainly concerning and need to be addressed. I'm glad that critics are bringing this to everyone's attention. However, I'd like to emphasize once again that this is not the ultimate measure of an IB education. The truth about IB is present in its teachers and its students.

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    4 May, 2014


  • To everyone claiming that IB is full of rich, elitist, upper echelon snobs,

    I raise you this; I, Kenneth Bradley McGuire, a Florida resident age 18, am a recent graduate of the local Pensacola High School IB Program. While there are certainly those in my school, or even more importantly in my program, who are very wealthy, a vast majority of students who attend Pensacola High School live far below the United States poverty line, and live off of welfare, and whatever their hard working parents can bring home. Before you spout off about my radical left-wing ideology because I brought up welfare, allow me to inform you of my affiliation with the Republican party in the state of Florida. Anyway, back on topic; Pensacola High School offers an integrated IB/Traditional school program; not only are a majority of Pensacola High School students living in poverty,but at least half of the IB candidates are at or below the middle class. We are not a group of ambassador's children, who believe ourselves above the law. We are not a political think tank, or a well oiled machine of dishonesty, we are not "a clockwork orange" controlled by our government, the UN, or the IB Program. We are educated individuals, who possess the ability to think for ourselves, while still taking into account the cultures, beliefs, and opinions of others. I will not waste my time arguing one way or another about the IB Program, but I will say, its rigorous programs are not a joke, they are not easy, and they have made me a better person, as well as a better citizen of the ever globalizing world. So please educate yourself; provide yourself with a true, unbiased education about the subjects which you speak of, then form an educated opinion. Furthermore, many of the students within the IB program here in Pensacola, Florida, USA use DP criteria such as CAS to benefit the community of not only Pensacola, but Escambia county as well. No they do not only use wealth to complete required CAS hours and portray a facade of selflessness. One such example is a personal friend of mine who I'll simply refer to as L. L who is the parent of a poor immigrant, and whose younger sibling suffers from autism attends PHS-IB (as does his autistic brother for those of you who believe IB is a nazi program that only accepts the ideal intellectual). L organized a very unique and beneficial CAS project in which he simulated a Renaissance style tournament that benefited two charities. Also, in late April and early May the city of Pensacola and its surrounding area experienced mass flooding which destroyed much of Pensacola's infrastructure. Despite the missing a week of school, and returning to school campuses the Friday of the same week (the last day for IB seniors) many of the IB candidates offered their assistance to those in need, free of any self gain, including CAS hours. The goal of CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) is to help candidates learn themselves on a philosophical and introspective level, as well as help to show the candidates, that helping their community is a wonderful and rewarding experience. Many of the examples I have used are a quick Google away, if you are so inclined to doubt that I would lie about floods or such facts that Escambia County, Florida is one of the most poor (if not the most) counties, or possibly even the country. Escambia's lack of a reasonable tax base leads to suffering education, air quality, and water quality; however, many Ib students have made programs that, for instance, raise money to gift laptops to underprivileged seniors going to college. To top it all off, and to completely discredit your assertion that IB is in it only for the money; IB (and AP) in Escambia county is completely free of charge, with the exception of the tests, which the county purchases so the students who can't afford them, still have an equal opportunity to access such an education. As many of the commentator's above have said, those in administrative positions are not perfect, in ANY group, and often become corrupted in one form or another, which is of course a shame is is not looked upon with respect. That does not make IB students rich snobs or political lap dogs.

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    5 May, 2014


  • I've worked as a Vice Principal in the UK and now work in international schools. I have to say that making the transition to the IB system was difficult, at first, it has far less emphasis on content (in the PYP & MYP) than GCSE and 'A' Level. However, the emphasis on enquiry and meaningful service in the wider community and global connections is refreshing.

    Over the years I've been amazed to see the projects that students have run and the impact that they have had. I have to wonder why we would not want this kind of meaningful connection for all of our students? Add this to the fact that the 'golden' standard of 'A' Level has been questioned year on year and I wonder why teachers aren't more open to looking at alternatives and reflecting on practise. So there has been an error with administration. is this really a cause to attack the underlying ethos of the organisation?

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    6 May, 2014


  • No one should be surprised by the IB program's inadequacies. I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg. The IB "marketeers" have been hoodwinking the public into their educational scheme for years and in some cases even destroying strong AP programs in schools. Parents and students have been sold lies as to the benefits of the IB program over AP. It's time people came to their senses and see IB for what it really is.

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    7 May, 2014


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