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 Post subject: Pros and cons of IB?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 4:04 pm
Posts: 1984
I'm getting slightly ahead of myself here (dd in year 10) but I am trying to understand what the pros and cons are of the international baccalaureate Vs A levels.
It's all probably unnecessary conjecture as I cannot imagine dd wanting to leave her school but...
I can see that it might be of benefit for children who can't, or don't want to, narrow down to 3 subjects at 16. Are there any other benefits?
I can imagine it doesn't make a huge difference to universities if one is applying for history for example. But if someone decides to do maths or chemistry for example, would it be a disadvantage to have covered less of a subject?
Are they getting less popular? I've looked at the previous threads on this forum (apologies if I've overlooked any that answer these questions) and there appear to be state schools which were offering them in 2012 which are not currently listed on the IB website (eg St Michaels in Finchley).


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 Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of IB?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
I know of schools who started with them and are no longer offering them. DAO had a meeting about it a few years ago and decided against it.

At each level you have to choose: GCSEs, A levels, degree. Would you want your dd to be up against a candidate who had had more chance to specialise? Perhaps for certain subjects it would be interesting but I certainly would not want a dc of mine to be competing against those who had explored a subject in greater depth.

It will of course all depend on the subject.

I am sure there are those who will be along to argue why it is better for certain subjects, I would not recommend it for the ones I know about. DG


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 Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of IB?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:24 pm
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Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
Several state schools a little way from us offer the IB, Dartford Grammar and Tonbridge Grammar. I went to an evening held by Sevenoaks school about the IB and they were glowing about how universities loved it etc and had nice power points to back it all up but I can't remember much of it. I think some of the pluses they mentioned are the rigours around how to learn, if doing a higher subject it isn't that much smaller coverage than an A level and the Government don't interfere with the curriculum or grade boundaries etc. I like the idea of getting results and being able to talk to Unis before the main bun fight in August too. DD's school is on the IB list but they haven't actually ever gone down that route and still do A Levels.


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 Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of IB?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:28 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:30 am
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DD is in her second year of the IB and loves it. She has always been an all rounder so it has suited her well and kept her options open for university. As an IB student , they are pretty much in full-time education (i.e. She only has 2 free periods a week), she has to manage her time and workload extremely well (as well as 6 subjects there is a 4,000 word essay to complete, Theory of Knowledge and CAS (creativity, activity and service)). Some criticise the "compulsory volunteering" but it's no different to the DofE award (which she has also done this year) and she has actually gained a lot from it (she volunteered at a local primary school for an afternoon each week last year). Last summer's leavers are going on to study medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, maths, engineering, science, PPE, economics, languages etc with 84% gaining a place at their first choice university. My DS will be following her into 6th form to study the IB next year. I am a big fan!


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 Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of IB?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:39 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
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The subject of the IB makes me sad. It is a much better qualification than A level - more rigorous and better at educating DC broadly. But universities haven't embraced it and tend to make unreasonably high offers for those doing it, which acts as a deterrent to schools with an eye on league tables; as does, frankly, the view of some who think as DG does:
Daogroupie wrote:
Would you want your dd to be up against a candidate who had had more chance to specialise? Perhaps for certain subjects it would be interesting but I certainly would not want a dc of mine to be competing against those who had explored a subject in greater depth.

English education is sadly fixated on early specialisation, starting at the ludicrously young age of 14 when children have to choose to drop some subjects. The IB is a fantastic qualification which is sadly struggling to gain ground here because of this narrow focused obsession with specialisation.

Bottom line - A levels are narrower and are just a springboard to university now. The IB is a better exam; but may be disadvantageous unless your child is very very bright and can meet the stupidly high grades demanded in it by some universities.

Antony Seldon (like marmite, I know) has had a lot of good stuff to say about IB - this article is a good introduction to his views. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/se ... dults.html


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 Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of IB?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:59 am
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This is a list of university destinations I found at my sons' school.
http://www.dartfordgrammarschool.org.uk ... s_2016.pdf
Some parents think it is much harder to obtain a high mark in the IB than it would be if you did A levels. At least my eldest is an all rounder, so I'm sure the IB would suit him. I also like the idea of volunteering.

Salsa


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 Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of IB?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:36 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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I like the volunteering but why does it have to be a compulsory element? Many students volunteer in the Sixth Form because they want to. I'm not a fan of the D of E either ...

I like the IB but it does not suit everyone. It would have suited me but not my DS. I agree with Amber that the requirements are very high so, whatever schools say, unis don't reallly get it.


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 Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of IB?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 4:04 pm
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Thank you everyone for your perspectives.
I think it would suit dd in that she seems to be very bright and an all-rounder and is already saying what a shame she feels it is that she will have to drop some subjects in 2 years' time.
On the other hand she's fairly certain (between two subjects) what she'd like to be able to study at university so she's not really in a position to need to keep her options open.
I didn't know about the compulsory volunteering. I think that would definitely put her off as she does a lot of things outside of school, some of which already involve volunteering.
As I say, all theoretical anyway as I can only see one school (and that an unaffordable indie) offering them near us but I feel I ought to be able to discuss the option with dd.


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 Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of IB?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:29 pm 
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For those looking towards a Science degree or Maths or Engineering then I think A levels are better. However if you want to study Humaities or Languages it may well work.

If she knows the sort of degree she might wish to study then its worth looking at entry requirements as part of the discussion.


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 Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of IB?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:30 am
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Loobylou - the volunteering she does already should count. It would probably just need to be verified in some way. Also bear in mind that DCs can change their mind about what they wish to study at University. DD has only firmed up what she would like study (Spanish and Chinese) having visited a few universities and talked to various lecturers and students.


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