Social and Cultural Foundations of American Education/Assessment/Standards

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What is the role of Advanced Placement and the International Baccalaureate in creating national standards?

National standards play a critical role in today’s educational community. These standards shape what is taught to students, and how teachers teach. When developing national standards it is necessary to examine every view of education. This includes advanced programs including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate.

National Standards Ideals[edit]

In today’s education world there is a constant battle to decide what should be taught to students. Each different branch of education has a customized way of forming ideals upon which to focus teaching. Among the top programs in the American school system are the Advanced Placement program, and the International Baccalaureate program. When creating national standards these programs must be held in high regard. Not only do the highest high school students participate in this program, the teachers, with considerable extra training, show a true display of care for the students. Once these programs are looked upon intently national standards can be formed which challenge both teacher and student, and ultimately advanced education on a national basis.

International Baccalaureate Standpoint[edit]

The IBO states that educational standards are a key part in the development of sound students and teachers( In this regard IB provides an excellent base for national standards. The standard IB student completes a rigorous program, and is constantly challenged on every level. While the students travel through the program they are forced to meet objectives and solve problems accordingly. Within the IB program students reach above and beyond what is typically expected. Students learn on various levels, and are challenged accordingly in each area. As students advance in the program areas begin to overlap, and students are given the opportunity to understand how each subject area affects the others. With this overlap students understand how the learning system s not separate parts, but one giant unit. National standards which require students to be challenged, and reach above in beyond are constantly being discussed in America’s various educational communities.

Chris Fischer states “the International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge program provides students a complete view of education.” In this class students have the chance to examine each area of education. Students begin to realize that while learning is different for each area, the basic methods used are the same. While students learn of each area they begin to realize that the standards affecting each intertwine. They are also given the chance to examine the various ways of knowing. In examining the various ways of knowing students maintain an understanding of education as a whole. In this way students are pushed to understand how each content area interacts. Within each way of knowing is an intermittent part of the others. Each area in and of itself directly affects the others. Once students understand the standards of how these ways of knowing work they achieve a better understanding of their learning experience. These standards which can be transferred directly to the national system enhance the learning experience. In this portion of the program students begin to breakdown the walls that divide learning, and view the educational instrument as a whole. Through this portion of the International Baccalaureate program students understand that each standard directly affects the others.

Advanced Placement Standpoint[edit]

Looking upon the other side of the spectrum the Advanced Placement program also provides students an excellent chance to develop themselves on a higher level. In this aspect students once again are given the chance to develop standards which lead to their betterment. In the Advanced Placement program students are given college level work, and upon completion given the chance to receive college credit for their efforts. Since these advanced students are learning on a college level they are exposed to college-level material. Being that national standards must push the envelope in the world of education, it is pivotal for advanced placement to play a role in the creation of these standards. As students study in the AP program they are constantly forced to look outside the box, and approach problems full circle. This skill proves to be vital in the forming of any type of national standard. When education is concerned students must be pushed from all sides to form a complete package. If they are allowed to only approach problems from the most obvious viewpoint they are denied the experience of seeing problems through. Also they do not gain the chance to observe these from different angles, and achieve solutions which shy away from the norm. More often than not educational problems can’t be solved with the most obvious solution. By taking the Advanced Placement outlook students see problems in different way, and thus find more complete solutions.

National standards have always been a key part of education. In every educational community standards vary, and students learn slightly differently. However this strategy proves to be incomplete, and leads to varying educational levels across the country. In viewing this problem it is easily understood that some national standards need to be established in order to give a more complete educational plan. With both the International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement programs students are challenged to be better than they currently are. Within this view we can see that national standards should be shaped around these programs. Not in that each student will be of the caliber of advanced students, but that students should be challenged in order to form complete views and ideals. When standards are made that require students to reach inside themselves, the ultimate result is students that are better than before. These standards create students who not only solve problems, but understand the issues surrounding the problems.


In the creation of national standards teachers and students must understand that these advanced programs provide a brilliant base upon which to build any educational program. Students who are taught with these standards develop as complete packages in the world’s eye. Teachers who teach with these standards not only better students, but better themselves. In teaching on a higher level, in reference to advanced programs, teachers inspire students, and provide a much needed advancement in the national educational standard. Students pushed to be better themselves ultimately become people who push for a better tomorrow. In establishing a national standard largely influenced by advanced programs there can only be an improvement in education as a whole. With teachers and students constantly pushed to better themselves the entire nation will improve.

Multiple Choice Questions[edit]

Click to reveal the answer.

IB differs from normal education classes in that...
A. Students take regular classes, but are expected to do more work.
B. Students have a customized IB curriculum.
C. There is no difference.
D. IB students only do independent study.

B. Students have a customized IB curriculum.

The IBO states that educational standards are key in
A. Establishing smart students.
B. Creating a strong school.
C. Development of sound students and teachers.

C. Development of sound students and teachers.

Which class provides IB students a full view of education?
A. Theory of Knowledge
B. Logic and Ethics
C. IB Psychology

A. Theory of Knowledge

In Advanced placement students are given what type of work?
A. Honors level work
B. The same work as other students
C. College level work

C. College level work

One main goal of the AP programs is to
A. Develop complete students.
B. Have students look outside the box.
C. Prepare students for the challenges of college.
D. All of the above.

D. All of the above.

Essay Question[edit]

Click to reveal a sample response.

What are some similarities and differences between the Advanced Placement program and the I.B. program?

The AP and IB programs share a few similarities, but for the most part differ greatly. In terms of similarities, both programs ask a lot of the participants. There is a lot of information absorbed in one term of each course. Also teach course culminates in final examinations prepared by a board of educators. Each exam can warrant college credit for high enough scores. However, AP classes are simply a string of classes that a student has the freedom to pick and choose from. One can take AP Spanish and AP biology, but opt to take regular United States History. There is no particular track to follow. Also The student has the option to withhold AP grades from being sent to the various colleges to which he or she may apply. The IB program is quite a different animal. It is a strictly structured diploma program that (in the U.S.) begins in the freshman year of high school and delineates all of the courses that the student will attend. There are specific course requirements to fulfill the diploma. There are also specialty requirements such as a mind-expansive course called “Theory of Knowledge.” The students of the Diploma program must pen a 4,000 or more word essay within one of their subjects. Also in regards to the IB tests, they are much longer than the AP tests. In conclusion, there are many differences between the two programs in terms of implementation and results. —Andréa Gomez


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