Does encouraging more students to take International Baccalaureate classes force teachers to lower their standards? Not when students have the right preparation and support.
Researchers increasingly recognize that students who take challenging high school courses are better prepared for college study and thus more likely to earn a degree (Adelman, 2006). Unfortunately, many high schools limit enrollment in these courses to the schools' highest-achieving students. Some school leaders believe that allowing lower-achieving students to take rigorous courses will force teachers to water down their curriculum (Klopfenstein, 2003). But is this assumption true? What would happen if all students were encouraged to enroll in the most rigorous classes available?
Opening the Doors
The suburban school district of Rockville Centre, New York, serves approximately 3,500 students. Nearly 75 percent of the students are white, approximately 12 percent are Latino, 8 percent are black, and 2 percent are Asian American. Most of the district's black and Latino students are socioeconomically disadvantaged.