International Baccalaureate mathematics comparability study: Curriculum and assessment comparison 2016

Liz Bergeron, PhD, University of Wisconsin La-Crosse—The National Recognition Information Centre, United Kingdom (UK NARIC) and Adriana Alcántara, PhD

In this study, the International Baccalaureate’s (IB) four Diploma Programme (DP) mathematics courses are compared with five mathematics qualifications from around the world (Alberta Diploma, Advanced Placement, GCE A levels, Singapore-Cambridge GCE A Levels and Gāokăo). The study includes two distinct components: a curriculum comparison and an assessment comparison. Of the curriculums examined, the DP offers the greatest number of mathematical course options for students with different needs. Based on the criteria used for this analysis, the IB’s further mathematics HL was determined to be the most cognitively demanding course of the curriculums examined, followed by A level Further Mathematics and Singapore H3 Mathematics respectively. With regard to assessment, the DP and GCE A level provide partial credit for accurate methods used; this is considered beneficial as it offers a more comprehensive record of student understanding. Lastly, the DP courses allow for the most granular level of differentiation in student achievement by grade, which can help to identify the highest levels of student achievement for competitive higher education admissions purposes.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf