In the following analysis, we seek to review the data and glean the highlights from the 2017 International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Before doing so, we’d like to congratulate TASIS students for their commendable work and give credit to International Baccalaureate Coordinator Howard Stickley, Creativity, Action & Service Coordinator Mara Bernasconi, Extended Essay Coordinator Dan Kirsch, Advanced Placement Coordinator Peter Locke, High School Academic Dean Mark Abisi, Director of Studies David Jepson, and, most of all, the legion of dedicated teachers who helped these students realize their full academic potential while at TASIS.
For help understanding the data below, we recommend reading this article to learn about the differences between the IB and AP programs at TASIS and to see an analysis of the results from 2015 and earlier. Reviews of the 2016 IB results and 2016 AP results are also available.
Another exceptional IB Diploma pass rate
Fifty-seven of 58 candidates (98 percent) passed their exams and earned an IB Diploma, marking the fifth consecutive year that TASIS students have passed at a rate of 97 percent or higher. The pass rate worldwide has remained below 81 percent over this same period.
Bilingual Diploma rate tops 50 percent again
Thirty TASIS candidates earned an International Baccalaureate Bilingual Diploma—meaning their first language (Language A) is not English or their Extended Essay was not written in English—for a Bilingual Diploma rate of 53 percent. This represents the eighth time in the past nine years that the School has topped the 50 percent mark while the worldwide rate was just 24 percent in 2017.
A growing program
The 57 IB Diplomas represent a new high for TASIS, breaking last year’s record of 56. In addition, a record percentage of students in the Class of 2017 pursued an IB Diploma—63 percent compared to 46 percent in 2016—and 82 students took at least one IB subject exam.
Scores on the rise
The highest overall score for a successful IB Diploma candidate was 42, and the average score for all candidates was 31.7, up from 31.4 last year and well above the worldwide average of 29.5. For a detailed account of how a student’s IB Diploma score is determined, click here.
IB Diploma Pass Rate
Two IB Diploma candidates—Niccolo McConnell and Laura Vecoli—scored at least 40 points, a feat accomplished by just seven percent of candidates worldwide.
In all, 82 TASIS students combined to take 369 exams in 40 subjects, with their average scores exceeding the world average in 29 of the 40 subjects (73 percent). All subject exams are scored from 1–7, and students recorded scores of 4 or above 91 percent of the time, 5 or above 69 percent of the time, and 6 or above 37 percent of the time. There were 18 different subject exams in which at least one TASIS student earned the best possible mark of 7. In all, students posted 33 7s, 105 6s, 118 5s, 79 4s, 26 3s, 3 2s, and zero 1s (five exams were not graded)—resulting in an average subject exam score of 5.1, which compares favorably to the worldwide average of 4.7. Below are some of the individual highlights:
- Congratulations are due to Niccolo McConnell for becoming the first TASIS student to record a 7 on the highly challenging Mathematics HL exam. He was taught by Jim Shields in grade 11 and Dan Schwartz in grade 12.
- Of the 27 non-native English speakers who took the English B HL exam, all but two earned a 6 or 7. (These impressive results follow those of 2016, in which 35 of 38 students scored a 6 or 7.) The group’s combined average of 6.15 outpaced the world average by 0.43 points. The entire English as an Additional Language (EAL) Department—and in particular, IB English B teachers Carolyn Heard, Tamara Schumacher, and Andra Yount—deserves praise for helping students achieve these outstanding results.
- Given how many students at TASIS speak multiple languages and how well they are prepared by the Modern Languages Department, it’s no surprise that the scores on the Italian, French, and Spanish exams were once again excellent. A total of 33 students took IB exams for Italian B (taught by a combination of Natalia Carretta, Geraldine Caussette, and Florence Kofler over the course of two years), French B (Brigitte Cazebonne, Caussette, and Kofler), or Spanish B (Angel Alvarez and Nilda Lucchini), and a remarkable 30 scored a 6 or 7. Mario D’Azzo also guided nine students to an average score of 5.56 on the Italian A: Literature HL exam—0.39 points above the world average.
Top IB Score
- Science IB students posted strong scores once again, besting the world average in in Physics SL by 1.12 points (taught by Matt Walker), in Chemistry SL by 1.05 points (Alec Ogilvie), in Chemistry HL by 0.23 points (Ogilvie), in Environmental Systems and Societies by 0.64 points (Marla Beimer), in Biology SL by 0.52 points (Amy Bloodworth, Peg Crockett, and Dr. Gillian Sawyer-Price), and in Biology HL by 0.3 points (Sawyer-Price).
- Led by Paul Diviani, 20 students took the Business Management HL exam and posted an impressive average of 5.37 points, well above the world average of 4.70.
- Six students took the English A: Literature HL exam and averaged 5.17, topping the world average by 0.38 points. They were taught by both Dr. Chris Love and Todd Matthew over the course of their two years in the IB program. Eighteen students took the English A: Language and Literature HL class and produced a mean score of 5.06, exceeding the world average by 0.11 points. They were taught by Anna Kavalauskas and Peter Locke.
- Under the tutelage of Martyn Dukes (Painting), Frank Long (Photography), and Mark Aeschliman (Architecture), nine IB Visual Arts HL students combined to produce a mean score of 5.22, outpacing the world average by 0.57 points.
- Valerie Carlson’s IB Theatre students exceeded the Theatre SL world average by 1.56 points and the Theatre HL average by 0.16 points.
- Guided by Mark Aeschliman, 25 students took the Art History SL exam and combined for a mean score of 4.80—0.15 points above the world average.
All Advanced Placement (AP) exams are scored from 1-5. College Board defines “success” in the following manner:
|“Success” on an AP exam is defined as an exam score of 3 or higher, which represents the score point that research finds predictive of college success and college graduation. These findings have held consistent across the decades. One example of such a study comes from the National Center for Educational Accountability, which found that an AP exam score, and a score of 3 or higher in particular, is a strong predictor of a student’s ability to persist in college and earn a bachelor’s degree.|
In the spring of 2017, 56 TASIS students combined to take a total of 107 AP exams, with 41 students scoring a 3 or higher on at least one exam. College Board defines this as a school success rate of 73.2 percent, which represents an improvement over the TASIS rates in 2016 (65.2 percent) and 2015 (69.8 percent). By comparison, the overall success rate for the 2.76 million students worldwide who took AP exams in 2017 was 60.3 percent.
More 5s than any other score
Of the 107 AP exams taken by TASIS students in 2017, 26 (or 24.3 percent) received the top score of 5. Just 13.3 percent of the 4,997,497 AP exams taken worldwide were marked a 5.
Students also recorded 20 4s and 22 3s. The percentage of scores that was 4 or higher was 43 percent, nearly matching 2016’s impressive rate of 47 percent and coming in well above the 2017 worldwide rate of 32.8 percent.
Led by 2017 Khan-Page Master Teacher Award recipient Kerry Venchus, students in the Calculus AB class once again performed incredibly well on their exams, notching nine 5s and three 4s for an average score of 4.75. For the sake of comparison, consider that the 317,547 students worldwide who took the exam in 2017 produced a mean score of 2.93. In addition, the four TASIS students who took the Calculus BC exam after working with Matt Knee posted two 5s, one 4, and one 2 for an average of 4.00 (worldwide average was 3.79).
Photography teacher Kim Nelson again helped her students produce nothing but 5s and 4s on the Studio Art: 2-D Design Portfolio exam—four 5s and three 4s to be exact—resulting in a class average of 4.57 that compares quite favorably to the global mean score of 3.53. Fine Arts Department Chair Martyn Dukes guided his students to a 4.0 average (one 5 and one 3) on the Studio Art: Drawing Portfolio exam, topping the global average by 0.45 points.
Led by Zach Mulert, 12 students took the United States History exam and averaged 3.08—comfortably exceeding the worldwide average of 2.65.
A number of TASIS students self-studied for language exams and produced mean scores of 5.0 on the German Language and Culture exam (two 5s), 4.67 on the Italian Language and Culture exam (four 5s and two 4s), and 4.0 on the Spanish Language and Culture exam (one 4). These scores are well above the global averages of 3.38, 3.19, and 3.59, respectively.
AP Scholar Awards
Eleven students earned the College Board’s AP Scholar Awards, which recognize high school students who have demonstrated exemplary college-level achievement on Advanced Placement exams. (Given that a record percentage of students in the Class of 2017 pursued an IB Diploma and the total number of AP exams taken dropped from 135 to 107, it makes sense that the number of AP Scholars would fall a bit from 2016's especially high total of 19.)
Three TASIS students received the highest honor, AP Scholar with Distinction, which is granted to those who score 3 or higher on five or more AP exams with an average score of at least 3.5. Bo Kim ’18, Kirill Krupenin ’17, and Adam Novak ’17 earned this impressive honor, combining to post a superb average score of 4.35 on a total of 26 exams taken during their time at TASIS.
Akhmejan Istmagambet ’17, Juliana Mauro ’18, Christelle Mezzadri ’17, and Yifan Xia ’17 earned the designation of AP Scholar with Honor by scoring 3 or higher on four or more exams with an average score of at least 3.25.
Four students–Giorgio Gambazzi ’18, Hongrui Han ’17, Caimin Long ’17, and Noah Plues ’18–were named an AP Scholar for scoring 3 or higher on at least three exams.