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## Main Question or Discussion Point

So my school is offering the IB (International Baccalaureate) program starting next year, and I'm wondering if anyone here has any experience with it, particularly the math. I can't ask anyone too closely affiliated with the program because they make outrageous claims (like how at their school most of the students entering the high level math program as juniors have already taken BC Calculus) and I never seem to meet anyone who has a clue about math anyway. I'll tell you my current thoughts and maybe someone here can set me straight if I'm wrong.

At the lower end, Math Studies, I'm extremely disappointed. I've browsed through a book written by experienced IB educators and can't believe how bad it is. First of all, it's a math book written by high school teachers and, self-deprecating as it may seem, that's a huge red flag for me. Almost nothing is proved, explanations are lacking, calculator use is emphasized to the extreme, and the not so subtle message to the student is that math is not for you. I'd give examples, but they're too numerous- assume that absolutely nothing is proved and you'll have a pretty accurate understanding of the book. Sometimes it directs you to a site for further information, and the site has links to wikipedia. Wikipedia is usually pretty good when it comes to math, but it's just unprofessional.

Of course this could just be a bad book, but from what I gather it's typical of the Math Studies program. It seems significantly less advanced than a typical high school progression of Algebra, Geometry, and Trig, and calculators are used mindlessly and often.

At the other extreme, HL math, I must say I'm pretty impressed. I think it places too much emphasis on Statistics and not enough on Linear Algebra, but overall it's good. It's harder than the typical high school math experience, covers a little more calculus than AB Calc, and has plenty of proofs. I can also teach the basics of group theory (the very basics, up to maybe Lagrange's theorem). I'm actually worried that this course is too hard. Of course there will be people who can do it at any school, but there will be ten times more who are forced into the course by their parents who think their kid is a math genius. I'm also not sure I'm the right person to teach group theory. I'd rather they learn it from a better mathematician haha.

Am I right about these two extremes? I'd very much appreciate any comments from an experienced IB teacher.

At the lower end, Math Studies, I'm extremely disappointed. I've browsed through a book written by experienced IB educators and can't believe how bad it is. First of all, it's a math book written by high school teachers and, self-deprecating as it may seem, that's a huge red flag for me. Almost nothing is proved, explanations are lacking, calculator use is emphasized to the extreme, and the not so subtle message to the student is that math is not for you. I'd give examples, but they're too numerous- assume that absolutely nothing is proved and you'll have a pretty accurate understanding of the book. Sometimes it directs you to a site for further information, and the site has links to wikipedia. Wikipedia is usually pretty good when it comes to math, but it's just unprofessional.

Of course this could just be a bad book, but from what I gather it's typical of the Math Studies program. It seems significantly less advanced than a typical high school progression of Algebra, Geometry, and Trig, and calculators are used mindlessly and often.

At the other extreme, HL math, I must say I'm pretty impressed. I think it places too much emphasis on Statistics and not enough on Linear Algebra, but overall it's good. It's harder than the typical high school math experience, covers a little more calculus than AB Calc, and has plenty of proofs. I can also teach the basics of group theory (the very basics, up to maybe Lagrange's theorem). I'm actually worried that this course is too hard. Of course there will be people who can do it at any school, but there will be ten times more who are forced into the course by their parents who think their kid is a math genius. I'm also not sure I'm the right person to teach group theory. I'd rather they learn it from a better mathematician haha.

Am I right about these two extremes? I'd very much appreciate any comments from an experienced IB teacher.