Happy 50th Birthday, IB! What we learned in Vienna

Timothy Hoffmann

This year, the IBO celebrated its 50th anniversary. It is incredible to think from its humble beginnings back in 1967, the IBO has now become a global behemoth, and we feel very fortunate to be part of the family.

Two weeks ago, a few of our team travelled to the annual conference in Vienna. This 3 day event brings together key members of the IB organisation, heads of school, IB coordinators and more to work collaboratively on sharing educational developments, discuss strategic changes to the PYP, MYP, IBDP & CP programmes and much much more. (Quick recap video here: https://vimeo.com/294120895)

 

During our time at the conference, we were fortunate to have conversations with some key IB stakeholders, discussing issues ranging from whether the MYP e-assessments will in time be brought across to the IBDP, to school authorisation processes and the IB’s relationship with UCAS.

One much discussed topic this year was the new Maths syllabus, which will first be taught in schools next year. This has been something we’ve been researching quite a bit, and talking to many families and schools about. The sketch below should give a rough indication of where SL and Studies are now aligned, and it certainly feels like a move to do away with this misconception that HL Maths is ‘too hard’ – a fallacy which is corroborated by many IB schools. Indeed, the IB are making huge efforts to get universities sign-off on the new system. You can stay up to speed by viewing the IBO Twitter feed, which is updated regularly as UK universities rubber stamp these new Maths qualifications. Note: we’ve simplifed “analysis and approaches” to “pure” and “applications and interpreation” to “applied” for ease.

 

We met IB coordinators and school stakeholders from over 50 countries, from schools ranging from those going through authorisation through to the ‘senior statesmen’ within the IB ecosystem. We learned a lot, and feel fortunate to also impart knowledge to schools who are new to the IB world.

Recently, we’ve been working more and more closely with schools, to supplement the work we carry out directly with families. Fundamentally, our in office team, and tutoring team, provide us with a uniquely placed ‘knowledge pool’ which has created an increasing number of relationships directly with schools which has led to teacher placements, in school revision workshops and even teacher training. This in turn has led us to create a spin-off ‘company’ called EIB Education. More on this to follow.

Abu Dhabi 2019

It was such a wonderful, positive experience. As a team of IB graduates, it was so fun to see some of our old teachers, many of whom had no idea we were still in the IB world. The gala dinner on Friday broke down all barriers with our very own Ebba having a dance-off with any comers, and usually winning.

In June, I will be attending the IBSCA (IB Schools and Colleges Association) Higher Education conference, and hope to discuss our recent research which has delved into UCAS’s weighting of IB scrores, and how this relates to university offers. In short, do UCAS and individual universities have differing views of the IB’s difficulty, and educational merit?

We are passionate about the IB as an educational platform, and truly believe we are fortunate to have gone through the programme.

Elite IB Goes Global

The travel doesn’t stop for me – after the trip to Vienna I’ve been in Switzerland and Holland meeting with our team and giving a series of talks called “Being an IB Parent”. Next up we take these talks to the UAE, Singapore and Vietnam. I hope to see some of you there!