Clarke IB scores improve slightly

Posted: October 5, 2013

The Winchester Star

BERRYVILLE — Clarke County High School students showed slight improvement on this year’s International Baccalaureate exams, compared to those taken last year — and more students earned the IB diploma this year.

“We’re certainly pleased with the results last year and continue to be pleased in 2013,” said Thom Potts, coordinator of advanced programs at the school.

The IB is a two-year educational program for students 16 to 19 that is recognized by universities worldwide. They can participate in two ways: obtain a full IB diploma (six courses), or take one or more IB classes.

IB scores range from 1.0 to 7.0 (7 is the highest).

The Clarke school enrolled 264 students in IB classes in the 2012-13 academic year— compared to 267 in the previous year.

This year, 85 of them went on to take one or more IB tests, compared to 63 students in 2011-12.

In 12 out of 19 subjects, the Clarke students’ mean score was equal to or higher than their mean score in 2011-12.

In six of the 19 subjects, Clarke students scored higher than the worldwide mean — the same number as last year. The subjects were philosophy, Latin, Spanish, environmental systems and societies, history of the Americas and visual arts.

Potts called the achievement significant because many IB schools around the world are private or public magnet schools with stringent entrance exams or acceptance policies.

“It’s really a tribute to students and the teachers teaching the program,” he said.

For the second consecutive year, chemistry at the standard level was the lowest score — 2.64. The mean score for economics at the higher level did not fare much better at 2.67.

This year, 12 out of 20 diploma candidates earned their IB diploma — up from the four of six candidates who earned one last year.

Potts said he was pleased with the higher number. “There’s a larger number of students interested in taking on the challenge.”

In 13 of the 19 subject areas, Clarke students’ mean score was 4.0 or higher, which is considered evidence of satisfactory achievement and a passing score. Last year, students earned a 4.0 or higher in 15 subject areas.

Winchester and Frederick County public schools do not offer IB testing.

— Contact Rebecca Layne