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UBC Theses and Dissertations

AP, IB, BC examinations and three dimensions in the Dartmouth Seminar Perez, Mary Fritzie

Abstract

Regardless of what objective/aim schools profess to have, their chosen assessment instrument dictates what they actually do to/with the students and indicates what, upon completing secondary education, the students are intended to take with them from their academic experience. This study investigates three such assessment instruments: the IB, the AP and the BC IRP examinations. Looking at how they are designed and what they contain, it also traces the exams' particular demands on the teachers and specific implications for the students. The study then explores these demands and implications in terms of the 1966 Anglo-American Dartmouth Seminar recommendations. Specifically, they are seen in light of John Dixon's (1967) 'Growth' model, Herbert Muller's report on the conference, and John Miller and Wayne Seller's three curriculum perspectives. Basically, of the three exams, the IB exhibits the strongest relationship to the Dartmouth ideals, with the BC displaying some, and the AP reflecting much of what the seminar rejected. Essentially, exams today continue to display evidence of ideas (and practices) the seminar participants denounced: the Transmission or 'Skills' and 'Heritage' principles. These are not entirely eradicated as generally hoped by the participants or by many modern educators. Nevertheless, there is also clear evidence of their recommendations or the 'Growth' model at work. Transaction and Transformation teaching or learning are encouraged wherein personal response from the student is elicited and, in fact, demanded in the examinations. There is also evidence of activities involving "imagination," creativity in writing, and personal "engagement" with literature (Muller, 1976, pp. 160, 79). There is, in these three exams, at least, definite evidence of a subject continually evolving to nurture keen writers and enamour them permanently with literature.

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