Save the International Baccalaureate program at TJ | Letters
September 25, 2012 · 3:22 PM
I am a senior at Thomas Jefferson who is concerned with the future of the International Baccalaureate program at my school.
The IB program is an international organization with international standards that students are tested on in May.
I am worried about the effect of Standards Based Grading on the quality of education at TJ.
The new grading system rewards people who only give enough effort to pass instead of shooting for an “A” on every assignment. I have seen multiple statistics that show that the overall scores on IB and AP tests taken last year by Thomas Jefferson High School students were significantly lower than those of years past, and I have no doubt that this is because of the mentality that passing is just as good as getting 100 percent.
In the old system, there was very little difference between a 65 percent and a 70 percent, which could be the difference of one question, but in the new system, the 65 percent would be failing, and the 70 percent would be just as good as a perfect score, which has led to the use of the phrase “Federal Way ‘A’” to describe a barely passing score.
As the Federal Way standards continue to decline, they become farther away for the IB standards that remain constant, which in the near future may result in fewer students passing IB exams and receiving an IB diploma.
In order to save the International Baccalaureate program at Thomas Jefferson, Standards Based Grading must be revised in order to be able to differentiate between high quality work and mediocre work.
Justin Allmaras, Auburn