44 students were part of Paterson’s International Baccalaureate program. Just one earned an IB diploma. | Paterson Times Paterson Times

44 students were part of Paterson’s International Baccalaureate program. Just one earned an IB diploma.

By Jayed Rahman
Published: November 18, 2019


Forty-four students enrolled at the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at International High School took the IB exams in the spring. Just one managed to earn a high enough score to receive a diploma through the prestigious Swiss program.

School board members were presented the data last Tuesday during their retreat. Former school board member Corey Teague sought the test scores in September, but was told the data would be presented to the board in October.

During the October assessment data presentation there were no International Baccalaureate performance data. Three weeks ago, the Paterson Times sought the scores through a records request.

School officials said the 44 students took exams in May 2019. 21 were course students and 23 full diploma students. Five students missed the diploma by two points or less. Five others missed the diploma by less than five points. Nine others missed it by 10 points, according to district data.

The ten students, who missed it by 2 and 5 points, will resubmit their exams for the May 2020 testing window to potentially earn their diplomas.

A diploma is awarded when a student earns 24 points.

47 course certificates were awarded to students, according to district data.

Teague watched the presentation and was dismayed by the data.

“It’s devastating. Come on now, we have to do a lot better,” said Teague. He won a school board seat in an election two weeks ago.f

Teague will be sworn-in in January.

School officials placed the scores in context at the presentation. Officials said the district student scores in Mandarin, a language widely spoken in Communist China, were above the world average.

Officials also used an unnamed local school district’s IB scores to assuage potential concerns. That district had 108 students, including 20 diploma candidates – just 2 earned diplomas after the May 2019 testing, according to data presented to school board members.

“Are they trying to say not to criticize them because another district did worse?” remarked Teague.

Teague said he was disappointed school board members were “stoic” after the presentation and did not demand answers.

School officials outlined an action plan in their presentation. Part of the plan included expansion of class offerings, increase support for students and early submission to let students refine internal assessments submitted to the IB, daily tutoring and support sessions for diploma and course students.

The sole student to earn the diploma was Aamya Perez. She was the valedictorian of her school and is now a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania

“As a graduate of IB, I can honestly say that the program and its rigor, allowed me to flourish and have an edge up in the college application process,” said Perez in a testimonial flashed on the projector screen last week.

Students from the International Baccalaureate (IB) at International High School received acceptance to Stevens Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, Rutgers University, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The class that graduated last June was Paterson’s first IB cohort.

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