IB test results strong in Spanish

More Lake City High School students take advanced learning class exams

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COEUR d'ALENE - The International Baccalaureate exam results are in for the last school year at Lake City High School.

Although there were just eight full IB diplomas awarded, 233 students took the advanced learning classes offered at the school, and 89 percent - 207 - of them sat for the exams.

In 2009, just 64 percent of the students who took IB classes sat for the exams.

The tests are sent to the IB organization to be scored on a scale of 1-7.

The average scores received by most students taking Higher Level and Standard Level IB courses at Lake City were between 3 and 4; not bad, but not enough for college credit in most cases.

The highest scores were received by students who took Standard Level IB Spanish. There were 27 exams given, and the average grade was 5.22. That's higher than the 2010 "World Average" of 4.71.

There were 20 IB Spanish students who scored a 5 or higher, with one student receiving the highest score possible, a 7.

The test for that course requires that students be recorded answering the teacher's questions in fluent Spanish, said Deanne Clifford, Lake City's principal and former IB coordinator.

The IB examiner reviews the audio tapes as well as a written, multiple-choice exam.

"It's really measuring a lot," Clifford said. "For our students to be achieving those scores after three years, that's a phenomenal account of our IB Spanish teacher's work."

Most colleges and universities grant credit for Higher Level IB courses only, and often they will only accept a minimum score of 5.

The fact that many higher education institutions don't accept Standard Level IB courses for transfer is a problem the IB organization and its schools have been dealing with for several years, Clifford said.

"Not only have I heard it, but I've had conversations with universities about it," Clifford said.

She's confident that as colleges become informed about the quality of the IB education, more will accept the Standard Level course credits.

"The value of the Diploma isn't course-for-course, the value is the intrinsic educational experience," Clifford said. "All the research that I've seen and the work I've done since 2004, what I have seen is that students are more successful and the graduation rate is higher among IB graduates."

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