AP Vs. IB -- Where's the Research?


Question: I have taught at two international schools for the past nine years: Eight at an AP school, and for the first time this year, at an international baccalaureate (IB) school. I am extremely concerned with the philosophy that IB uses. It appears that there is far less content taught in all subjects, and I worry that this IB program is not going to provide the foundational skills to be successful in the sciences.

What IB prides itself on are interdisciplinary projects and development of higher-level critical thinking skills. I have found that interdisciplinary projects, while great in theory, are rarely implemented. I also see that what is considered critical thinking is still a limited and superficial exercise that has all students reaching the same accepted conclusions, which usually involve government intervention as the answer to societal ills. Since we skim over subject material, the theory of knowledge (TOK) exercises are not truly using thinking skills, as students to do not have the information required to do so.

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