IBs comeback

PUBLISHED: 11:17 20 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 06 May 2010

SIR - I am writing in response to the article about the International Baccalaureate results in this week s paper (August 13) and to the letter from Fiona Wells. Firstly Fiona, I chose to make my comments now because it is now that we are all trying to ma

SIR - I am writing in response to the article about the International Baccalaureate results in this week's paper (August 13) and to the letter from Fiona Wells.

Firstly Fiona, I chose to make my comments now because it is now that we are all trying to make it clear to the authorities just what a problem these students are having trying to obtain a university place.

Yes schools are on holiday and that has added to our problem since most students have not had anyone available to advise and support them. That aside, I have to say that Mr Ramsey at Verulam has been very helpful to our son.

The IB is an excellent course that stretches high-achieving pupils. However it needs to be well-taught to achieve high scores and it was not. The consortium has claimed the overall IB score was 29.7 points. The average for Sandringham and Verulam was just 27 points. I urge you to look and see what point scores universities ask for. You will see that many courses ask for 34 points at IB but only 3Bs at A-level.

Many universities will not even consider you with 27 or 29 IB points. Don't make the mistake of looking at the UCAs conversion tariff, hardly any universities use it.

Twenty-three out of the 31 pupils achieved less than 34 points. That means only eight ended up with a score viewed by most universities as equivalent or better than 3Bs; only eight out of the consortium's 31 higher-achieving students! I consider that to be a poor result. At the end of the day most students want to get into a good university. If that is your aim, in my opinion, you stand a better chance of doing so at BeauSandVer if you take A-levels.

Finally Fiona, you do not know all of the facts here, only what you have read in the press. If staff "knew exactly what they were doing" for example, why was a student told they had 20 out of 20 for coursework only to find after moderation it was returned reduced to 9 out of 20? That suggests to me teachers did not understand the IB requirements.

The schools are forced to defend their position, they have invested a lot of money in this programme. Fiona says that "the organisation and teaching standards have improved dramatically". Where is the evidence for that?

My aim was not to distress prospective IB students but to give you a clearer picture of the risk you take when choosing the IB. I would advise you all to carry out your own research rather than believing what the consortium tells you. We believed them and we bitterly regret it.

YVONNE ROBERTSON

Craiglands

Jersey Farm

St Albans

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