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My dd is taking AP English Language at the local high school this year. In my conversation with her teacher (who holds a doctorate in English) and several other teachers in the English department at the high school, I have been asking why none of the English courses require  students to write a research paper. All of the teachers have told me that research papers are no longer being  required at the college level. What??? They claim no one wants to read them; they would rather students create a power point presentation and document their sources. In addition, the cheating is so widespread that most professors require that college students perform only in-class writing and no out-of-class writing.  

 

I know many of you ARE college professors or have students in college right now. Is all of this accurate? I'd love some discussion about this topic.

 

Thanks,

Jennifer

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My college student middle son has done research papers, power points, and videos for his classes. He is attending a research U and involved in actual research.  To get his job he had to read papers about the topic he's researching and summarize them.

 

Research papers are still required at every grade in the high school where I work.

 

Some returning college students tell me they have to do papers and others do not.  It seems to be hit and miss pending their majors and the schools they've chosen.

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The high school students I know do not write research papers. It is as you said -- PP presentations (or group projects) have become the new "research paper."

 

Even a few recent college students I've talked to had PP presentations instead of written research papers.

 

I'm not impressed, actually.

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The small community college I work for does indeed assign a research paper in English 102 (second semester freshman level).  The upper-level English classes, history classes, and even some of the science classes all assign them.  Perhaps because classes are small (no more than 24)?  Among those that graduate, the majority go on to a 4-year school within 5 years of graduation.

 

Not quite the same thing, but as a former scientific researcher, I can't imagine not having those skills.  Naturally all of my projects required background digging to justify funding (I did a lot of that my first few years on the job), and then when you publish you need to carefully document other work that relates to yours.  And that's of course what a master's thesis or dissertation is.

 

Sounds like someone who doesn't want to grade them (smile).

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You can't publish without written research, so I'd hope college students are being prepared for that. I can't imagine the learning curve if the first paper you have to write is your thesis!

 

It was for me. Where I come from, we don't have writing classes at the university for non-language majors. If you were a physics major, your first paper was your 50+ page diploma thesis (comparable to a Masters)

 

It is also important to note that the term "research" means something very different for a scientist than it does in school. If you are a scientist, the "research paper" you write is a writeup of your own original research. Reading and compiling what other people already did does not qualify as "research".

 

At the university where I teach, all STEM students have to take two semesters of writing, one on composition and argumentation, the other one on scientific writing.

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Oldest had to write a lengthy research paper to go along with her science fair project in 8th grade. She just started her freshman year so nothing there yet, but she will have to write a 4000 word extended essay to receive her IB diploma. Since that is a requirement I expect several research papers during her pre-IB (9th-10th) and IB years (11th-12th) to prepare them.

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Fwiw I wouldn't necessarily assume that research papers would be assigned in an English class. Literary criticism ought be. And that could look a lot like a research paper, especially if it dug into biographical or historical background. I would expect research papers in history classes.

 

As for the idea that PP has replaced research, I'm skeptical.

 

Within history there is a lot of research using primary and secondary sources. It is a good analytical tool to have at ones fingertips.

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It's a sad day when learning to write from research isn't considered important. My DS17 is taking an English class at the local CC that teaches that skill, with a previous course to teach the essay. It's not dead yet, at least not there. 

As a writing coach and tutor, I don't see the research paper as simply explaining a topic to be terribly useful, aside from the skills of research, writing, and revision that it takes. Writing requires a central argument, and most research paper work is simply writing about a topic, it seems. I teach the essay first, then add in writing from sources, which can be done in the form of literary criticism, rhetorical analysis, the essay, the scholarly or scientific paper, and even the letter. Students intending to go to college need to learn to summarize, paraphrase, and quote correctly and use these methods of noting source material in papers. They need to learn to find credible sources (and that takes critical thinking skills and a bit of practice) and to create a thesis that has purpose and meaning.

The research papers I was assigned in school did little of the latter, and reorganizing facts to fill ten pages isn't that exciting or interesting. But research with the purpose of supporting a meaningful thesis brings light and interest to the work, and that makes a large difference. Okay. Enough about my passions!

 

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I had to do a short research paper in my freshman comp class last year. I also had to do a ten page research paper for my general studies American History class. I wasn't quite prepared for a ten page paper, but got it done fairly well. No way would I send my kid into college without the skills to do that. It wasn't necessarily the paper writing as much as the darn formatting. We had to do footnotes and getting those all straight and cited properly took as much time as editing the paper because the last time I wrote footnotes, we hand wrote papers. 

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Hmmm....My son attended what I call a writing intensive college.  Every student writes a thesis for graduation, taking a series of research based writing courses leading up to this.  Undergraduate students from this college often present at academic conferences.

 

Most of his coursework at the LAC required intensive reading and writing. The essays that he wrote when taking dual enrollment courses at the CC were less demanding--but at least he was writing.

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My son is a STEM major in college and is also part of a very small honors college. Most of the 11 honors college classes he will take during his four years there are humanities and social science classes and all are very small reading, writing, and discussion intensive courses. During the first two years, they take two english classes (ancient and modern), two history classes (ancient and modern) and one research writing class (english or history). During the final two years, they take six additional classes and each requires at least one research paper. Each student must also do an honors thesis involving original research. In his major, most honors college students are published in a scientific journal during their undergraduate career, and an extended version of the publication normally serves as the honors thesis. 

 

Outside of the honors college, all students are required to take two writing classes from a choice of three, one of which is research writing. Elective classes in scientific writing are also offered.

 

During his high school years, my son had experience with three different types of research papers. First, the basic summary type where he learned about doing research, properly using sources, organizing the paper, etc. Second, research papers where he was using research to support a central thesis. Most of these were for on-line or co-op history or social science classes. And finally, a research proposal for his summer research at the local medical school. As part of a class for high school students he took at the medical school, they chose a research mentor and worked with them to write an official research proposal, and then spent the summer carrying out the research under the mentor's guidance.

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I wouldn't necessarily say it's about the college paper.  AP tests are timed, so the emphasis has been on timed writes and the m/c test at the high school level.  Assigning a research paper won't result in a higher score.  I don't mean to sound harsh, but right now, passing scores on the AP tests are the ultimate goal of the high school.  I'm not saying it's right.  

 

In our non-honors classes, the research projects/papers are assigned.  Also, the Smarter Balance tests are supposed to assign a short research piece.  Students are assigned a topic, research it, then return and are given a prompt to respond to.  

 

I can remember writing 2-3 research papers every year starting in elementary school.  In high school, there was one in each subject per semester.  Older ds wrote two total through 10th grade.  Younger ds has yet to ever complete a research project...same school district.   :confused1:

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During his high school years, my son had experience with three different types of research papers. First, the basic summary type where he learned about doing research, properly using sources, organizing the paper, etc. Second, research papers where he was using research to support a central thesis. Most of these were for on-line or co-op history or social science classes. And finally, a research proposal for his summer research at the local medical school. As part of a class for high school students he took at the medical school, they chose a research mentor and worked with them to write an official research proposal, and then spent the summer carrying out the research under the mentor's guidance.

 

In our school, the summary types of papers are done in middle school (7th - 8th grade).  In high school kids need to always have their thoughts involved and support those with credible facts they find.  One paper deals with a profession they are considering.  That's the first one if I recall correctly (my memory isn't the best). 

 

There's another where they have to pick a side on a controversial subject and research both sides.  Their own views have to come across - supported by facts they find - and they have to answer the critics.  Those can be super interesting to read - not because I don't already know both sides, but because I love to see how the kids are thinking on these topics (homeschooling, creation/evolution, gay marriage, global warming, gun control, etc, etc, etc are all popular topics - add anything controversial).  Kids are NEVER penalized for their views - only for the research/writing aspect.  I've found that their views can mirror a large part of society, but it's fun to see them think.  A couple have changed their views based upon their research!

 

Then they have a paper (or more) that deal with literary stuff - again - their own views are supposed to come through in these.

 

There may be others, but those come to mind this morning. 

 

When they are doing fact-finding deals - say - something on a region of France for French class or an explanation of an essay, that's when they use Power Point.

 

IMO, high school students need experience with both things - papers of varying types and Power Point.  They are likely to need both in college - pending major and which college they choose.

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It is also important to note that the term "research" means something very different for a scientist than it does in school. If you are a scientist, the "research paper" you write is a writeup of your own original research. Reading and compiling what other people already did does not qualify as "research".

 

 

FWIW, humanities essays should not be just reading and compiling the research of others.  If there is not direct analysis of the issue, then it should not fly.  So you can include other people's ideas (explicitly stated) in your paper; you can then agree or disagree with them; but without carrying on to original analysis of the issue/text at hand, it is not (for me) a proper research paper.

 

Would a scientific research paper make reference to previous research before launching into original work, or is the background not made explicit?

 

L

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Would a scientific research paper make reference to previous research before launching into original work, or is the background not made explicit?

 

Absolutely! That would happen in the introduction and comprise a small part of the paper.

In science, studying the relevant literature would not be considered "research", but a preparation for research. Research always has to include the creation of own original results in the form of experimental or theoretical data, not merely an interpretation of the thoughts of others.

When the term "research paper" is used for school assignments, it usually refers to a literature survey, and a school "research paper" in a science subject typically has nothing to do with what is considered "research" in that field.

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I wouldn't necessarily say it's about the college paper.  AP tests are timed, so the emphasis has been on timed writes and the m/c test at the high school level.  Assigning a research paper won't result in a higher score.  I don't mean to sound harsh, but right now, passing scores on the AP tests are the ultimate goal of the high school.  I'm not saying it's right.  

 

 

This is it in a nutshell. 

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First, let me apologize for taking a little while to come back and reply, but we have had so much sickness at my house that I've either been in the bed or a nurse to someone else. Anyways....

 

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. As I read through them, the overwhelming majority stated that indeed, colleges DO STILL require research papers of various sorts. This is what I thought, but I wanted to find out from others' experiences so as to confirm my skepticism. How could an entire English dept at the high school make such claims when this is NOT the norm. Is it really that teachers don't want to grade students' papers, as several posters suggested? If so, I'm not sure whether to be mad at the teachers & our educational system, or feel sorry for them because of their long hours dealing with bureaucracy. For all of you who still homeschool, be glad that you are pressing forward. Your kids will be so much more prepared for college.  I guess my dd will have to learn the hard way when she gets assigned a lengthy paper in college. Then on the other hand, maybe that's better anyway; she will more than likely be learning from more competent teachers/professors.

 

Thanks again, guys....

Jennifer  

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This is it in a nutshell. 

 

This is one of the things I like about the IB.  The exams are timed, so there is a premium on getting your thoughts down fast in a cogent essay.  There is a required 4,000 word research paper, however, on  a topic of your choice.  The marks on it influence your final IB score, and you cannot gain your IB diploma without completing it.

 

L

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First, let me apologize for taking a little while to come back and reply, but we have had so much sickness at my house that I've either been in the bed or a nurse to someone else. Anyways....

 

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. As I read through them, the overwhelming majority stated that indeed, colleges DO STILL require research papers of various sorts.  

 

Hope the sickness has been sent on its way and all of you are feeling better!

 

From my limited experience with kids who return to school to tell their stories, it's mainly lower level state schools and similar that seem to have dropped research papers.  These schools rarely take our top students (not the bottom either as those don't go to college).  My guess is they are training their students for what they are likely to do on their jobs upon graduation and papers aren't really part of that as much as power point or things will be.

 

Higher level schools still expect papers - and their grads are probably more likely to head to jobs where papers either might be required or might be read for info.

 

When I first heard from some kids that they didn't need to write any papers I was astounded, but it's not true everywhere (yet).  It is true in some schools.

 

I'm glad our high school still teaches the skills needed.

 

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As an addendum to Creekland's comments, I would like to add something told to me recently by a friend who is an adjunct in the UNC system.  With state cutbacks to the university system, her class sizes have increased dramatically from 35 to 60 or even 70 students. She was overwhelmed by papers last fall so, during the spring term, she gave a Scantron exam and made one of the required papers optional.  I think she felt miserable about the entire situation but adjuncts are not well paid. 

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As an addendum to Creekland's comments, I would like to add something told to me recently by a friend who is an adjunct in the UNC system.  With state cutbacks to the university system, her class sizes have increased dramatically from 35 to 60 or even 70 students. She was overwhelmed by papers last fall so, during the spring term, she gave a Scantron exam and made one of the required papers optional.  I think she felt miserable about the entire situation but adjuncts are not well paid. 

 

That's sad, but definitely could be a likely part of the problem - still very, very sad!

 

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Writing research papers was the focus of Comp II at dd's CC and none of the writing was done "in class".  I can see that class size would be critical in writing intensive courses as reading, grading and good feedback takes considerable time.  Research conference presentations are done using PowerPoint presentations and posters, but a research paper is also written.  Both research writing and PP skills are needed in college.  

 

I wonder if the teachers aren't at odds with the administration/school board and are doing what's easiest for them in protest.

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This is one of the things I like about the IB.  The exams are timed, so there is a premium on getting your thoughts down fast in a cogent essay.  There is a required 4,000 word research paper, however, on  a topic of your choice.  The marks on it influence your final IB score, and you cannot gain your IB diploma without completing it.

 

L

 

Laura,

Interesting that you highlight this about the IB. The principal at my dd's high school has only been there 1 yr, so he is still new, and I know he wants more for these kids than they currently are getting. He came from a school system that offers the IB diploma in many of its high schools. Last spring, he presented the IB concept to our board of education. It was not received with great enthusiasm, mainly because of ...$$$$--it means more highly qualified teachers, training, paperwork, blah, blah, blah. (I'm sure you sense my cynicism.) I would LOVE to see the  high school offer that, not just for the research paper, but the critical thinking and global aspect of the program.  Unfortunately, it would not be soon enough for my dd. She graduates in 2016, and I'm sure it would take a few years to get the program rolling.

 

Thanks,

Jennifer

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Hope the sickness has been sent on its way and all of you are feeling better! 

 

From my limited experience with kids who return to school to tell their stories, it's mainly lower level state schools and similar that seem to have dropped research papers.  These schools rarely take our top students (not the bottom either as those don't go to college).  My guess is they are training their students for what they are likely to do on their jobs upon graduation and papers aren't really part of that as much as power point or things will be.

 

Higher level schools still expect papers - and their grads are probably more likely to head to jobs where papers either might be required or might be read for info.

 

When I first heard from some kids that they didn't need to write any papers I was astounded, but it's not true everywhere (yet).  It is true in some schools.

 

I'm glad our high school still teaches the skills needed.

 

 

We are finally on the mend!! My ds had a respiratory virus that caused him to wheeze, even though he is not asthmatic. We've been doing round the clock breathing treatments and he's been on prednisone. Yesterday, the doc ok'd him to begin weaning the breathing treatments; she did not hear any more wheezing and his oxygen levels were at 98%. Praise God! Meanwhile, I caught a sinus infection and ran a fever for several days & generally felt miserable myself. I do mention the issue with my son, because the doctor said their practice (which encompasses 4 counties) has been swamped with this kind of stuff. Just an FYI for you all.

                                                      ****************************************************************************************

 

We live in rural NE GA. I know our high school is probably considered a "lower level" high school. Our graduation rates are dismal--only 45% of kids finish high school, so obviously this affects the recruitment of high caliber teachers, and drives many of the decisions of the board of education. You are probably right about the lack of usefulness of research/papers for most kids, because they will not go to college. UGA and GA Tech are our state flagship uni's, and for the college bound students, these schools are talked about A LOT. I would consider GA Tech a high level uni. UGA....I'm not sure whether to call it a mid-level or lower level uni.  I think a great deal depends on the academic college that you are talking about--some are excellent, and some are just ok. Three years ago, UGA added a med school, so that has got to add depth to their science & research programs. So wouldn't it seem that students even in those disciplines would be expected to write papers???  UGA promotes itself as a high level uni, and now, prides itself in having a VERY selective and competitive admissions rate. Thanks to the HOPE scholarship, many students do not get in their freshman year. The HOPE has kept some of the brightest students here in GA, so supposedly, that has also raised the level of education at UGA. Not sure how valid that is??? Anyway, it's hard for me to believe that even UGA would be doing away with research papers. Creekland, I know you guys looked at higher level uni's/colleges. Where would you say UGA stands?

 

 

 

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As an addendum to Creekland's comments, I would like to add something told to me recently by a friend who is an adjunct in the UNC system.  With state cutbacks to the university system, her class sizes have increased dramatically from 35 to 60 or even 70 students. She was overwhelmed by papers last fall so, during the spring term, she gave a Scantron exam and made one of the required papers optional.  I think she felt miserable about the entire situation but adjuncts are not well paid. 

 

Jane, you are probably on target with your comments applying to our school's teachers. There has been so much cutting that it really is ridiculous. Most classes now contain 32-33 students, but teachers have 3 block class loads. So, that equates to 150+ students and when you look at it from that perspective, I can understand how overwhelmed a teacher would be to grade all those papers. I'm sure our teachers feel grossly underpaid for the number of hours that they invest. This is the part that makes me feel so sad for both the teachers and the dismalness of our educational system.

 

Jennifer

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.  

 

I wonder if the teachers aren't at odds with the administration/school board and are doing what's easiest for them in protest.

 

Oh, believe me, they are at odds. Several of my friends who have worked at the high school for 20+ years, say that morale is the lowest they have ever seen. I REALLY hope that this is not true.

 

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 Creekland, I know you guys looked at higher level uni's/colleges. Where would you say UGA stands?

 

I would expect both Ga Tech and UGA to require papers at least at higher level classes.  I would expect the same from Penn St and Pitt.  Lower level classes I wouldn't be quite as sure about.

 

I know at URoc there is only one required course of all students - a freshmen writing course.  I suspect this happens due to schools not properly teaching youngsters to write and they need to combat that.  I doubt I even did enough (or the English cc class my middle son took) as that's the ONLY class he got an A- in (vs an A).

 

At Eckerd the first freshmen class they had for 3 weeks prior to the upper classmen arriving was supposed to concentrate upon writing skills (among other things).  I KNOW youngest needs more writing skills.  I've held back from asking him what grade he got in that class knowing it's not likely to be his best area.

 

Writing appears to be becoming a lost skill once one gets beyond message boards and texting.

 

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Laura,

Interesting that you highlight this about the IB. The principal at my dd's high school has only been there 1 yr, so he is still new, and I know he wants more for these kids than they currently are getting. He came from a school system that offers the IB diploma in many of its high schools. Last spring, he presented the IB concept to our board of education. It was not received with great enthusiasm, mainly because of ...$$$$--it means more highly qualified teachers, training, paperwork, blah, blah, blah. (I'm sure you sense my cynicism.) I would LOVE to see the  high school offer that, not just for the research paper, but the critical thinking and global aspect of the program.  Unfortunately, it would not be soon enough for my dd. She graduates in 2016, and I'm sure it would take a few years to get the program rolling.

 

Thanks,

Jennifer

 

To be honest, I'm not sure that the IB is the best fit for the US education system, unless an individual school curriculum is redesigned to fit.  I was puzzled for a long time about stories of massive workloads from US students using the IB.  Calvin has been busy, but not that busy (until the period just before final exams).  Then I considered the structure of the IB and how it compared to the UK and (standard) US education systems.  

 

For the IB, you need to take three subjects at higher level and three subjects at standard level, plus some bits and bobs.  To take Calvin as an example: he took English, history and Latin at higher level; biology, maths studies and French at standard level.

 

When he started the IB diploma course, his classmates (aged 16) at school had already studied both Latin and French for at least four years and were already at (roughly) SAT subject test level.  Biology had also been studied for four years already.

 

If he had been a STEM-interested student, his subjects would have been something like Maths, chemistry and physics at higher level; English, French and economics at standard level.  He would already have had four years of chemistry, physics and French.

 

If you compare that to the US system, with late acquisition of foreign languages and a delayed start to specialised science studies as the norm, then the two-year IB programme is going to be at least twice as intensive for many US pupils as it is for their UK equivalents: they will be cramming four to six years of physics into two years, for example.

 

L

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Oh, believe me, they are at odds. Several of my friends who have worked at the high school for 20+ years, say that morale is the lowest they have ever seen. I REALLY hope that this is not true.

 

 

I hope it's not the reason as well.  Years ago our teachers were protesting and instead of striking, they didn't offer after school help, showed more movies during class times, and did other things which were technically allowable but made their jobs less demanding.

I'd be shocked if GaTech or UGa eliminated research papers.  Using that as their reason is what led me to believe that there's more to it.

 

Glad to hear that you are all feeling better!

 

ETA:  Not dinosaurs, but alive and well.   http://www.bulletin.uga.edu/MajorsGeneral.aspx?MajorId=90

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If you compare that to the US system, with late acquisition of foreign languages and a delayed start to specialised science studies as the norm,

 

Schools do generally delay foreign languages, but specialized science studies tend to start around 5th grade.  We just work it differently by doing "a" science per year for the most part rather than integrated science as many of our exchange students have had.  When exchange students have looked through my kids books (when my kids were younger), mine had actually covered more variety - esp astronomy, weather, etc, than they had.  Some (from Europe) had never studied those things.

 

I've always wondered (based upon our exchange students) why the US scores so poorly in science, but then I think I discovered the answer.  For one, we've yet to have an exchange student who has taken any special test the way our kids have to.  They have exams, but not tests that ALL kids have to take.  Then, in most foreign countries, only the top academic students are even still in school by 11th grade (the usual testing year here).  We have EVERYONE still in school - testing.  I suspect if you were to take our top third and compare to their "top third" the scores might be more similar than not.

 

In general, the exchange students we get fit right in with our top students - but usually far better with language.  Their English is rough when they come over, but it improves quickly.  I guess it would be the same with exchange students we send elsewhere (Japan, etc), but far, far fewer are even semi-comfortable with a second language here unless one is spoken in the home.

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To be honest, I'm not sure that the IB is the best fit for the US education system, unless an individual school curriculum is redesigned to fit.  I was puzzled for a long time about stories of massive workloads from US students using the IB.  Calvin has been busy, but not that busy (until the period just before final exams).  Then I considered the structure of the IB and how it compared to the UK and (standard) US education systems.  

 

For the IB, you need to take three subjects at higher level and three subjects at standard level, plus some bits and bobs.  To take Calvin as an example: he took English, history and Latin at higher level; biology, maths studies and French at standard level.

 

When he started the IB diploma course, his classmates (aged 16) at school had already studied both Latin and French for at least four years and were already at (roughly) SAT subject test level.  Biology had also been studied for four years already.

 

If he had been a STEM-interested student, his subjects would have been something like Maths, chemistry and physics at higher level; English, French and economics at standard level.  He would already have had four years of chemistry, physics and French.

 

If you compare that to the US system, with late acquisition of foreign languages and a delayed start to specialised science studies as the norm, then the two-year IB programme is going to be at least twice as intensive for many US pupils as it is for their UK equivalents: they will be cramming four to six years of physics into two years, for example.

 

L

 

I don't know how other IB high schools work but ours isn't too busy. Dd has plenty of time for homework, outside clubs, and friends. Oldest is in what is called an IB program. Our middle school has a certified Middle Years Programme so they had three years of foreign language prior to high school. Dd will now take another four years while in high school.

 

Science isn't as great but dd had a year of Biology and Chemistry in middle school and will now take Biology in 9th and Chemistry in 10th. She will have to pick one of those or Physics to take the entire final two years.

 

The program is completely different from the rest of the school as well. The pre-IB and IB teachers are only for the IB program and all students in the same grade/level have the same teacher for that subject. It makes study groups easy.

 

 

 

 

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Schools do generally delay foreign languages, but specialized science studies tend to start around 5th grade.  We just work it differently by doing "a" science per year for the most part rather than integrated science as many of our exchange students have had.  When exchange students have looked through my kids books (when my kids were younger), mine had actually covered more variety - esp astronomy, weather, etc, than they had.  Some (from Europe) had never studied those things. Yes - in the UK, there is more of a concentration on the basics of physics, chemistry and bio, with geology and some weather wrapped into physical geography.  Astronomy would be an extracurricular, or started at university.

 

I've always wondered (based upon our exchange students) why the US scores so poorly in science, but then I think I discovered the answer.  For one, we've yet to have an exchange student who has taken any special test the way our kids have to.  They have exams, but not tests that ALL kids have to take.  Then, in most foreign countries, only the top academic students are even still in school by 11th grade (the usual testing year here).  We have EVERYONE still in school - testing.  I suspect if you were to take our top third and compare to their "top third" the scores might be more similar than not.  Yes - the school leaving age in the UK has been sixteen, although it is rising to eighteen over the next couple of years.  However, there is an advantage to the US education system as far as international comparisons is concerned: the UK, for example, specialises earlier, so those not doing the IB (the IB is only offered in private schools, to my knowledge) may have stopped all maths and science at age 16.

 

In general, the exchange students we get fit right in with our top students - but usually far better with language.  Their English is rough when they come over, but it improves quickly.  I guess it would be the same with exchange students we send elsewhere (Japan, etc), but far, far fewer are even semi-comfortable with a second language here unless one is spoken in the home.

 

 

I don't know how other IB high schools work but ours isn't too busy. Dd has plenty of time for homework, outside clubs, and friends. Oldest is in what is called an IB program. Our middle school has a certified Middle Years Programme so they had three years of foreign language prior to high school. Dd will now take another four years while in high school.

 

Science isn't as great but dd had a year of Biology and Chemistry in middle school and will now take Biology in 9th and Chemistry in 10th. She will have to pick one of those or Physics to take the entire final two years.

 

The program is completely different from the rest of the school as well. The pre-IB and IB teachers are only for the IB program and all students in the same grade/level have the same teacher for that subject. It makes study groups easy.

 

That sounds like a school that has completely changed it's model for the IB.  The horror stories I have heard probably come from schools that haven't recognised that necessity.

L

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To be honest, I'm not sure that the IB is the best fit for the US education system, unless an individual school curriculum is redesigned to fit. I was puzzled for a long time about stories of massive workloads from US students using the IB. Calvin has been busy, but not that busy (until the period just before final exams). Then I considered the structure of the IB and how it compared to the UK and (standard) US education systems.

 

For the IB, you need to take three subjects at higher level and three subjects at standard level, plus some bits and bobs. To take Calvin as an example: he took English, history and Latin at higher level; biology, maths studies and French at standard level.

 

When he started the IB diploma course, his classmates (aged 16) at school had already studied both Latin and French for at least four years and were already at (roughly) SAT subject test level. Biology had also been studied for four years already.

 

If he had been a STEM-interested student, his subjects would have been something like Maths, chemistry and physics at higher level; English, French and economics at standard level. He would already have had four years of chemistry, physics and French.

 

If you compare that to the US system, with late acquisition of foreign languages and a delayed start to specialised science studies as the norm, then the two-year IB programme is going to be at least twice as intensive for many US pupils as it is for their UK equivalents: they will be cramming four to six years of physics into two years, for example.

 

L

I don't understand the IB system, but I think that direct comparisons with the way most Americans understand "years of" must be incorrect. I am trying to figure out the 4 to 6 yrs of physics being crammed in 2 yrs. I am trying to imagine what is covered in 4 to 6 yrs of high school physics. Physics is math driven and only certain level can be achieved without calculus. I can't imagine that IB students are reaching mastery in cal that much earlier than advanced students in the US and that what is consider beyond AP physics C is behind IB physics.

 

I am suspecting that the scope/sequence is just radically different in how the sciences are taught and that the term "years" is not interchangeable b/c it does not take 4 to 6 yrs to learn high school equivalent physics.

 

In terms of the OP, I think research papers the way I wrote them in high school are dinosaurs and that the focus has shifted toward an essay approach to research. (that is not the way I was taught to write research papers.) Not sure that makes sense.

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I don't understand the IB system, but I think that direct comparisons with the way most Americans understand "years of" must be incorrect. I am trying to figure out the 4 to 6 yrs of physics being crammed in 2 yrs. I am trying to imagine what is covered in 4 to 6 yrs of high school physics. Physics is math driven and only certain level can be achieved without calculus. I can't imagine that IB students are reaching mastery in cal that much earlier than advanced students in the US and that what is consider beyond AP physics C is behind IB physics.

 

I am suspecting that the scope/sequence is just radically different in how the sciences are taught and that the term "years" is not interchangeable b/c it does not take 4 to 6 yrs to learn high school equivalent physics.

 

 

 

It's hard to compare, I'm sure.  

 

According to the author of Life of Fred, UK maths is accelerated compared to the US system.  He wrote (he gave permission for me to post from his private email):

 

It looks like the Life of Fred series (from the first book on fractions to the calculus and statistics books) pretty much fit the material for the [GCSE] exam.

         There is more in the Life of Fred Calculus and in LOF: Statistics than will be needed for this exam, but there is material in each of those books that will be needed.

 

This is the exam that is taken by all school pupils at age 16 - not just advanced ones.  It is required for most jobs - basic clerking in an office, etc.  So that means that by age 16 (or 15 for those advanced pupils who take it early) UK pupils are some way through calculus/statistics, having finished algebra 1 and 2, geometry and trigonometry (in US terms).  This presumably means that pupils can move into more advance physics at an earlier age.

 

I checked the weight that the UK common application system gives to top marks in an IB subject exam vs. top marks in a US AP exam.  It gives 130 points for the IB subject and 120 for the AP subject (AP physics B+C).  Neither qualification is native to the UK, so it's unlikely that there is nationalistic bias involved.  It does suggest that, for UK universities at least, the IB exams are considered to be higher level.

 

L

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I would expect both Ga Tech and UGA to require papers at least at higher level classes.  I would expect the same from Penn St and Pitt.  Lower level classes I wouldn't be quite as sure about.

 

I know at URoc there is only one required course of all students - a freshmen writing course.  I suspect this happens due to schools not properly teaching youngsters to write and they need to combat that.  I doubt I even did enough (or the English cc class my middle son took) as that's the ONLY class he got an A- in (vs an A).

 

At Eckerd the first freshmen class they had for 3 weeks prior to the upper classmen arriving was supposed to concentrate upon writing skills (among other things).  I KNOW youngest needs more writing skills.  I've held back from asking him what grade he got in that class knowing it's not likely to be his best area.

 

Writing appears to be becoming a lost skill once one gets beyond message boards and texting.

 

 

Like you, I expect both Tech & UGA to require papers. When we went to visit Univ of MD in the spring, the students leading the campus tour stated that pretty much all disciplines taught and expected excellent writing skills. They said research writing was heavily emphasized in freshman level English courses. The uni even has a writing clinic housed in a building near the library where students can have one-on-one tutoring for all types of writing assignments.

 

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I hope it's not the reason as well.  Years ago our teachers were protesting and instead of striking, they didn't offer after school help, showed more movies during class times, and did other things which were technically allowable but made their jobs less demanding.

I'd be shocked if GaTech or UGa eliminated research papers.  Using that as their reason is what led me to believe that there's more to it.

 

Glad to hear that you are all feeling better!

 

ETA:  Not dinosaurs, but alive and well.   http://www.bulletin.uga.edu/MajorsGeneral.aspx?MajorId=90

 

Maybe your right; maybe there is more to it. Thanks for the link to the history dept's requirements and expectations. I might poke around some more on Tech & UGA's sites.

 

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I don't know how other IB high schools work but ours isn't too busy. Dd has plenty of time for homework, outside clubs, and friends. Oldest is in what is called an IB program. Our middle school has a certified Middle Years Programme so they had three years of foreign language prior to high school. Dd will now take another four years while in high school.

 

Science isn't as great but dd had a year of Biology and Chemistry in middle school and will now take Biology in 9th and Chemistry in 10th. She will have to pick one of those or Physics to take the entire final two years.

 

The program is completely different from the rest of the school as well. The pre-IB and IB teachers are only for the IB program and all students in the same grade/level have the same teacher for that subject. It makes study groups easy.

 

It sounds like your school system has done a much better job of integrating the IB program throughout the K-12 curriculum. You probably live in a different state than GA. I know people in other counties here in GA who, as Laura mentioned, are so swamped and stressed out with so much being crammed into those last 3 years, that many of them have pulled their kids out.

 

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My district does not assign research papers or ppts in AP English - they do literary criticism papers. Social Studies/History'Government/Economics at the honors/ap/de level does have research papers, one per quarter. Gen ed students do not do papers at any level of English..the last lengthy piece of writing they do is an 8th grade ppt w/5 page summary paper. The focus in gen ed is reading comprehension...getting them to grade level and ready for CC English 101, so lots of plot summaries and five paragraph essays.

 

DD is also taking APUSH, and they have no research papers due. The writing focus for that course is knowing how to answer the DBQ's for the AP exam. As far as the literary criticism papers, I would expect that more in AP Lit rather than AP English Lang/Comp. What I've noticed so far about the AP English course is that the teacher is preparing the students for two exams: the AP exam and the end-of-course exam in American Lit that is required of ALL 11th graders in GA. So there is a heavy focus on Amer Lit in this AP course. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, just not what I expected from this course. I anticipated grammar, exposure to writing many different kinds of essays, and at least one research paper with citations in MLA, Chicago, or APA, depending on the student's topic.

 

Heigh Ho, just wondering....how do you feel about the way the writing is conducted in your district? Our districts sound similar in their approach.

 

Jennifer

 

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It's hard to compare, I'm sure.  

 

...

This is the exam that is taken by all school pupils at age 16 - not just advanced ones.  It is required for most jobs - basic clerking in an office, etc.  So that means that by age 16 (or 15 for those advanced pupils who take it early) UK pupils are some way through calculus/statistics, having finished algebra 1 and 2, geometry and trigonometry (in US terms).  This presumably means that pupils can move into more advance physics at an earlier age.

 

This is still not necessarily true in all of Europe.  We have not had exchange students from the UK.  We have had them from France (occasionally) and Germany (often).  Their math skills entering Calculus (junior or senior year - exact same as our kids) varies just like our kids does.  One had not even been exposed to Trig functions (telling me those were in the book, but their teacher never got to them).  With rare exceptions (generally from Asia, but one from Germany who was very exceptional), I have not seen any exchange student already higher in level in math than our top kids are and I work in an average (by all statistical analysis I've seen) public school.  A couple have been a bit lower - though those aren't always European (can be).

 

Middle son attends college with quite a few international students.  He has not felt "behind" or foundationally short.  I'll admit his foundation beats that of our ps kids - this is why I homeschooled, after all, but it's quite akin to what I had in my good public school.

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