Better Than Finland: The IB Approach to Evaluation

Livonia International Baccalaureate Programme Diploma graduates

Livonia International Baccalaureate Programme Diploma graduates

Trust or accountability? While the rest of the world evaluates schools, teachers and students to hold them accountable, for what they are supposed to be doing, Finland has a system that is based on trust. Schools, teachers and students are trusted to do what they are supposed to be doing.

Trust has worked well for Finland. For the past ten years, it is a country that has ranked consistently at the top of the world. Yet, believe it or not, there is a system of education that is better than Finland. I’m talking about the International Baccalaureate.

For more than 40 years, the International Baccalaureate has delivered consistently high, excellent educational results. IB Diploma Program graduates are highly sought after by top universities around the world, from Harvard to MIT to Stanford to Cambridge to Oxford. Why?

Here’s one very good reason: “The IB Diploma Programme (DP) is an academically challenging and balanced programme of education with final examinations that prepares students, aged 16 to 19, for success at university and life beyond. It has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students. The programme has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.”

Here’s another reason: According to the Educational Policy Improvement Center, nearly 80% of International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (DP) graduates go on to graduate from university within 6 years (Conley 2009). That’s compared with 58% of the general college population. (See Conley, D., Ward, T. (2009). Summary Brief: International Baccalaureate Standards Development and Alignment Project. Educational Policy Improvement Center, Eugene, Oregon.)

Additionally, research shows that “IB Students out-perform their non-IB peers in academic area, indicating high social and emotional well-being.”
Graduates

On a regular basis, every 3, 4, or 5 years, depending on the program, schools authorised to deliver an IB program are evaluated. The main purpose of evaluation is to identify strengths and areas for improvement. That’s all it is: Identify strengths and weaknesses. In other words, keep on doing what you are doing good, and take the necessary steps to improve in areas where you are weak at.

That’s amazing. Absolutely amazing. What is even more amazing is this fact: The International Baccalaureate® (IB) offers four high quality international education programmes to more than one million students in 144 countries. Let’s be exact: “Founded in 1968, we currently work with 3,568 schools in 144 countries to develop and offer four challenging programmes to over 1,095,000 students aged 3 to 19 years.”

Let’s be clear here: Finland has achieved excellence…in Finland. The International Baccalaureate® (IB) has achieved excellence…in 144 countries. Such evidence strongly suggests that the International Baccalaureate is the best educational system on the planet.

Here I have to disclose here that I wrote a book in which I looked at evidence about the IB. My conclusion: The IB is the best educational system on the planet. If the IB were a country, it would be number one…across the globe.

As an effective educational leader, concerned with student learning outcomes, the IB offers another option, a third way, to achieve excellence.

1. There is the trust-based system used by Finland, which has resulted in that country being the top performing nation over the past ten years.

2. You can use the system of high stakes, standardised testing employed by the USA, which has resulted in that country performing little better than average over the past ten years.

3. You can use the IB system of evaluation, in which you identify strengths and weaknesses, which has resulted in education excellence for more than 40 years.

Obviously, I believe it is a very good idea for people who are interested in effective educational leadership to learn more about the IB evaluation system. If you truly seek high quality education results, regardless of where you are located at on the planet, I highly recommend the International Baccalaureate® (IB). The evidence is overwhelmingly supportive of my recommendation…
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About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Coordinator of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK in Santiago, Chile. He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago 2012 & Edcamp Chile 2013, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago. Edcamp Chile 2013 was held at Universidad UCINF. Thomas is also a member of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as a reviewer and as the HETL Ambassador for Chile. Thomas enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Thus far, he has written the following genres: romance, historical fiction, autobiographical, sports history/biography, and English Language Teaching. He has published a total of sixty one (61) books, all available on Amazon http://amzn.to/Qxmoec . The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.
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