The IB Program

No offense to students taking the International Baccalaureate program, but it does seem to me that colleges and universities should not be dictated to by the state legislature over what credit they will and will not give for particular courses of study.

I’m totally sympathetic, but I think Erroll Davis is right that this could cause a whole hell of a mess with accrediting organizations for Georgia’s colleges if the state legislature can dictate course credit terms.

18 comments

  1. drjay says:

    not that i would ever recommend that we do anything like its done in gainesville–but their does not seem to be a problem w/ kids getting course creidt down there…i see your point about the stae not mandating credits–but i have gotten the impression that uga is/can be downright hostile about givng these kids any credit at all..and ib would be an option for us if our kids went to public schools as groves–one of the 22 schools in the state that has an ib program is the high school our kids are currently districted for…

  2. stephaniemills21 says:

    Boo hoo to the IB students. Get over it.

    Truthfully, my experience with IB students when I was at UNC-Chapel Hill was not that great. I would say that most of them that got credit for the lower level classes did not do so well when they went straight to the upper level classes. Same for many of the AP students, including myself. I came in two credits short of being a sophmore and that put me at a disadvantage with the students who had taken the entry level courses. Few high school class, no matter how rigorous, will truly match what you can get in a college class for both content and level of study.

    Heck, I had a friend who transferred into UNC from Harvard (familial issues) and some of her classes would not transfer. That is just the way it works and the legislature has no place trying to change it. Leave it to the schools.

  3. Mike Hauncho says:

    I went through the IB program at North Atlanta High which happened to be the first school in the country to offer the program. The program was tougher than the courses I took in my first two years of college and I think those who earn credit through their passing of their tests should receive credit for their work. Plus, it would help students get through college faster and tie up less Hope money. Whether you get the credits or not parents should not look at it as though it is a waste of time for their children to take it because ultimately it is about the education. We are too often looking to be rewarded for everything we do and when we dont get immediate compensation we turn and run.

  4. Nicki says:

    That’s a good point — is the value of a more rigorous education simply the ability to skip to the end of the line? I would hope not.

    I was very happy with my APs — the classes I AP’d out of placed me into classes that were generally still under my level of mastery. Perhaps because UGA at the time gave a lot of credit for 5s and almost none for 3s. So, you know, history dork with all 5s = history major = no need to take the intro weeder classes and more time to be spent in upper level studies. Whee! 3 in French = placement into the final requirement = less need to do work which isn’t directly linked to my major. Whee!

    On the other hand I CLEPped out of math and biology up to the final course of each, and that was a mistake. I’m pretty bad in both subjects, and so I’m glad I skipped a few courses, but I certainly didn’t do well in the ones I took. I would not say that the CLEP placed me in an appropriate place in that sequence.

    I think it is better for the state system, however, that students be placed appropriately, and fast-tracked past credit they would receive for work equivalent to their high school work. But it should still be up to each university to determine what that work is.

  5. Nicki says:

    I don’t think the state mandates credit for AP or CLEP. But it offers credit for both, as it offers credit for IB. The issue seems to be that IB proponents think it’s worth more credits than UGA will give them.

  6. eehrhart says:

    I agree that the final determination should be left up to the university system. The system however must meet at least two concrete litmus tests. Transparency and accessiblity. Unfortunately it falls short on each, and that is why there is such pressure from constituents for action from legislators. I can attest that I get a great deal of communication from parents on this issue.
    The University system needs to make sure that parents have access to exactly what makes up the admission requirments and what is expected. At the present time we are given answers which are at times contradictory and difficult to decipher. Parents are not getting clear information for their students.
    I hope that the discussion of the issue here and in other venues changes some of the policies at the system so that the legislature is not brought too far into the debate.

  7. stephaniemills21 says:

    To me, this whole thing seems reminiscent of parents complaining about their students not getting the grades to get the HOPE Scholarship.

  8. eehrhart says:

    Interesting comment as that is the other side of the legislative equation we are hearing from voters on. The push to credit courses not actually rigorous, but which are entitled as such to inflate grades for Hope eligibility.
    This is certainly not the role of the legislature.
    I continue to maintain that a transparent system is not too much to require for certainty. I for one am not interested in inflating grades, but I am interested in parents having correct clear information to base choices on.

  9. Nicki says:

    Hey, guys — I ^%$#ed up. The state does mandate CLEP and AP credit per equivalent course. So, for courses that transfer, the value of a score is constant across the entire state.

    So the problem is actually that the IB is not course-specific and is not quantified as rigorously as the APs or CLEPs. In other words it doesn’t measure mastery of particular subject matter as closely as either of the others do. Which is why the universities balk — it doesn’t actually indicate mastery of any particular subject and therefore indicate that the equivalent of any particular course has been attained.

  10. Icarus says:

    Rep Ehrhart,

    I agree on the need for greater transparency in the University system. What steps are being taken to increase transparency with respect to the actions of the board of regents and the college presidents?

    The regents are accountable to no-one, and Mike Adams masterfully turned questionable spending and a “no confidence” vote of the faculty into a position for life at UGA.

    While I’m nervous about the prospect of “politicizing” the regents, I’d prefer politics to complete inside cronyism.

  11. eehrhart says:

    Icarus,

    At the present time and with the several legislative proposals pending, my take is that candid discussions are taking place with the Presidents and with Regents staff. I have had several myself. I feel like they are listening and that some changes could be on the way.

  12. Nicki says:

    P.S. I forgot that there is another option. If you want college credit you can jointly enroll. Which, you know, gives you college equivalency because you are actually in a college class, demonstrating that you’re capable.

  13. Icarus says:

    Rep Ehrhart,

    Thanks for the response. Please keep the conversations going. A lot of us are still holding back total support for UGA because of Mike Adams, and it has nothing to do with how he handled Vince Dooley.

  14. jm says:

    I don’t think giving kids as much as 24 college credits is a good idea. I have taught AP, I am familiar with IB, and I will say that certain introductory courses, such as English 101 and 102, are harder in high school. The students in these college courses are only there to prove they can read and write at the college level. However, an introductory biology or history course is much harder in college than even a rigorous AP class. Let’s realize that taking these courses does two things: prepares you better for the college experience, and gives you a leg up with regard to admissions.

    The quality of these courses varies widedly from school to school and even within schools that I would not want UGA to give credit until the student has proven themselves capable…is a one test enough to prove that? Can the colleges create a better test?

  15. Demonbeck says:

    Stephaniemills,

    “Truthfully, my experience with IB students when I was at UNC-Chapel Hill”

    I read that and decided immediately that I was going to disagree completely with everything you said…

  16. MidGaDawg says:

    It’s amusing how many people are willing to comment on a story they clearly are very ignorant about. (This is a long one…)

    The issue isn’t whether state schools should give credit for high school exams — that happens and will continue to happen. The issue is what role the Legislature should play. Personally, I believe IB should earn more credit than it does, but that should remain up to the institution, NOT the Regents or the Legislature. It does seem unfair that students with identical scores get different credit at different schools (say, UGA vs. Ft. Valley State) but the course/difficulty of the course that you get credit for is also not the same at every school in the system, so a statewide policy would only serve to force every school to the lowest common denominator.

    Now, that said, I do think IB scores should earn more credit. Nicki said, “So the problem is actually that the IB is not course-specific and is not quantified as rigorously as the APs or CLEPs. In other words it doesn’t measure mastery of particular subject matter as closely as either of the others do.” This is false. In fact, this is so unclear and incorrect, I can’t even rebut it than to say she has no idea what she’s talking about. IB offers numerous subjects, as does AP, and the two are very comparable.

    Nicki also said, “If you want college credit you can jointly enroll. Which, you know, gives you college equivalency because you are actually in a college class, demonstrating that you’re capable.” This is correct, but misleading. In Macon, for example, a student can joint-enroll through Macon State or do an IB program. The IB students, to a person, have a much more rigorous curriculum that more closely approximates (or surpasses) college level work at somewhere like UGA. There used to be a running joke between IB and JE students that IB students do all the work but JE students end up with more credit.

    jm said, “The quality of these courses varies widedly […] is a one test enough to prove that?” Funny thing about that. AP _is_ one test per subject. IB takes into account labs and papers done over a two year span, in addition to the exam at the end, to give the score. Meanwhile, something like an SAT Subject Test is one multiple choice exam.

    I know several people at UGA who got more credit for taking SAT Subject Tests on one Saturday than they did for two years of IB/AP work. That’s a major issue that should be corrected. But I still think that should be up to the school and the professional academics as opposed to elected officials who are probably no more informed than the posters here.

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