Higher percentage of students in Waterloo schools excelled in IB curriculum last year as ranks narrowed | Education News


WATERLOO – A higher percentage of students enrolled in courses in the International Baccalaureate program performed well enough on exams last year to potentially earn college credit.

However, this was a smaller group of East and West High School students who were excelling in the IB in 2020-2021. Numbers fell as high school shifted to a virtual and in-person schedule due to COVID-19 and some students chose a fully distance learning option.

Twenty-eight Waterloo community school students wrote 139 IB exams last year. Sherice Ortman, high school and advanced programs coordinator, told the Education Council On Monday that “76% of IB exams were at four or more” on a seven-point scale – the minimum to receive college credit for those courses at many institutions – up from 54% in the previous year. This equates to $ 97,272 in college credits, based on University of Iowa costs.

“We’re really proud of it,” Ortman noted. Between the juniors and seniors of the two schools, there were 15 IB Diploma Program students and 13 certified students taking one or more courses. In 2019-2020, there were 45 graduate students and 50 certified students.


These numbers are rebounding. This fall there are 29 full diploma applicants and 40 certificate students for a total of 69 in the program.

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“I’m sure COVID has had some impact, but our kids who completed the IB Diploma Program last year have really embraced this alternate back-to-learning schedule,” Ortman said. “They really stayed motivated and kept up with their pace on the alternate days. That hasn’t happened with all of our programs.”

IB graduate students obtained an average mark of 4.075 and an average mark of 25.45 on the ACT university placement exam. They won at least $ 387,283 in scholarships. One student had full tuition covered at the University of Iowa, just like another at Iowa State University, and one student had half of the tuition covered at Iowa State.

Last year, the 202 students enrolled in nine advanced-level courses offered in East and West took 264 exams that may also have earned them college credits. Ortman said that “29% of exams were three or more,” which saved students $ 85,692 in potential college transfer credits. A total of 254 students are enrolled in the nine classes in the East and West this school year.

Last year, concurrent community college courses offered at high schools and at the Waterloo Career Center saw a total enrollment count – including duplicates for students taking more than one class – of 374 for East, 33 for Expo Alternative High School and 917 for West. This equates to tuition savings at Hawkeye Community College for these students of $ 213,206, $ 17,015, and $ 521,551, respectively.

“It’s a big win for the Waterloo schools,” Ortman said. She noted that the district offers 90 college course options for high school students.

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Expanded learning and talent development programs are also found in Waterloo school buildings at all levels, serving 669 students who have been identified as gifted. A total of 77 students across the district were twice identified as exceptional because they are gifted and have some type of learning disability.

Ortman emphasized equity in advanced programming, breaking down participation by ethnicity and gender.

“Of our 90 courses, they are open to all children,” she said. “We don’t exclude any student, and I’m really proud to see how our advanced courses resemble our community.”


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