Adventures in IB: A different equation for learning math

February 21, 2020

The aims of the IB Diploma Program Standard Level Math class are unique. The curriculum contains the usual high school mathematics standards, including algebra, statistics, probability, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. But the goals for IB Math students go beyond just solving math problems. IB works with students to develop their logical, critical, and creative thinking skills, increase patience and persistence in problem-solving, all while cultivating an appreciation for the elegance and power of math.

"There are questions in our math text book that I would not expect to be there," said junior Oliver Carson. "For example, a specific question asked, 'When do we use ethics in math?' and we took a day to talk about it."

The type and format of IB assessments set the program apart from other advanced placement classes. The format for the internal assessments involves the collection of information or the generation of measurement and then focuses on subsequent analysis and evaluation. It requires students to look at unfamiliar situations. They must organize and analyze information, draw conclusions, test the validity of those determinations, and then consider the scope and limitations of those findings.

"I like that we we use real-world situations to show us why it is important," said junior Abbi Kabel.
External assessments evaluated by IB consist of short and extended-response questions. Students must be able to use math facts, concepts, and techniques in a variety of contexts.
The IB Diploma Program subject brief highlights the skills students will develop, outlines the recommended curriculum, and describes the assessments in the IB Diploma Program Subject Brief.
Purcell Marian became an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School in 2019. Founded in 1968, the IB is a non-profit foundation, which offers four high quality and challenging educational programs for a worldwide community of schools. For more than 50 years, IB programs have gained a reputation for their rigor and high academic standards, that prepare students for life in a globalized 21st century, and for helping to develop citizens who will create a better, more peaceful world. Currently, more than 1.5 million IB students attend 5,175 schools in 157 countries. To learn more, please visit

International Baccalaureate, School News